James Godert assumes the role of 1st Ward Council member during Tuesday’s Hannibal City Council meeting. Godert won the municipal election held in April.  He replaces outgoing councilman Kevin Knickerbocker who did not seek reelection.

Godert and two other officials-- Municipal Judge Donald Bastian and Third Ward Council Member Melissa Cogdal-- were sworn in by Mayor James Hark.  Bastian and Cogdal were reelected to their respective positions in the April election.

Outgoing councilmen Kevin Knickerbocker also served as Mayor Pro Tem.  That position now goes to 2nd Ward Councilman Mike Dobson. Two councilmembers were nominated for the position:  Dobson received 6 votes in favor, Melissa Cogdal received 5 votes.  (The council is permitted to vote for more than one candidate.)

In  other business:

The council approved street closures near the high school and extra security personnel for HHS Commencement the evening of May 17, Extra night security is also approved related to senior activities occurring May 10 and 11.

Finance Director Karen Burditt shared key dates regarding the proposed 2018-19 fiscal budget. A budget workshop for staff is scheduled May 16.  A Public Hearing will be held June 5, just prior to the regular council meeting.  The budget bill will be given a 1st Reading during the meeting.  A 2nd and Final Reading is scheduled for the June 19 council meeting.  The new budget year begins July 1.

Board of Public Works Director Heath Hall outlined plans for the water plant project estimated to cost $14.5 million. With council approval, Proposition A would appear on the August 7 ballot.  Voters will be asked to approve the issuance of up to $17.5 million in bonds to fund the removal of ammonia and conversion to a Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC) filtration system.  Hall says the additional $3 million is to cover contingencies and cost overruns that could occur when the project goes up for bids.  Hall emphasizes the August 7 vote is NOT to decide whether to remove chloramines.  Hannibal voters and the city council have already voted to make that conversion.

If Prop A does not pass, lease financing could be utilized, but Hall says that would cost well over $1 million more than bond financing.  The project is expected to go up for bid over the winter, with construction on the new facility to begin in February.  The deadline to remove chloramines is March 31, 2020.

Heath Hall says information on how much water rates will  increase may be available at the next council meeting May 15.  He estimates rates will have to go up around 62 percent over a 5 year period.

The council gave First Reading to a bill authorizing the bond issue  to be placed on the August 7 ballot.


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