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Greetings from city hall! As 2017 gets underway, I thought it would be a great time to give you an update on a few things happening in our community.
First, the Rock Island Trail State Park is now officially open to the public! This 47-mile trail connects Pleasant Hill to Windsor and the Katy Trail, creating one of the longest trail systems in the United States. Excitement is very high about this trail, and many bicyclists and equine enthusiasts are making plans to ride the trail when the weather improves. At the trail head on South Graham Street, more improvements are planned by State Parks. This spring, they will install an information kiosk, park benches, and a flush restroom facility for trail users. As a reminder, the City of Leeton did not have to pay for any part of the Rock Island Trail, as this entire project was completed by Missouri State Parks. We are very fortunate to have this great resource in our community. I hope you’ll plan to spread the word about it and plan to use it this spring as the weather improves.
Second, you may have heard that the Board of Aldermen is beginning the process of evaluating wastewater (sewer) rates. This is in response to our continual budget evaluations. We are facing new regulations for our wastewater lagoons that will be in effect in the next 5-7 years. Currently, we have no way to pay for those needed upgrades, and in fact, with our current rate structure, we are projected to run a deficit this year. We estimate the cost of these upgrades to be anywhere from $500,000 to $3 million. Again, these are not upgrades that we chose to make, but are required by new regulations. The Board has started looking at ways we can solve the problem of future needs, which will likely come in a rate adjustment. We understand that no one wants to pay more for services, but the fact is regulations are increasing and we must act to meet those requirements. Failure to take action now will only get costlier over time. Any rate adjustment will be phased in over a period of years, so that no one sees a huge jump in their bill at one time. As always, we invite your continued input during this process. The next Board meeting is February 14 at 7:00 PM, and I am certainly open to your comments and suggestions any other time.
Finally, the Park Board is making plans to build a new shelter house in Grinstead Park. This will be using funds from the new ½ cent park sales tax passed last fall. I am very excited to see the new structure in place, and we anticipate its’ completion by spring. It will improve the looks of our park and create a place for families to gather. The next Park Board meeting is February 9 at 7:30 PM at City Hall.
This is just a few of the many projects that we’re working on in City Hall. I’m fortunate to have an excellent staff and Board of Aldermen to work with, and I’m excited to see what’s ahead. As we continue to see new projects and ideas in our community, I hope you know that my door is always open. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time. I’m in City Hall every Thursday and can be reached any time via email at email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you.