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City Council Revisits North Jefferson Improvements, Receives Project Updates

By Sue Curry Jones

The Ava Board of Aldermen met on Tuesday of this week, and during the session, councilmen once again voted to partner with MoDOT in upgrading the storm water sewers, drainage areas and sidewalk venues along North Jefferson Street.

Revisiting the topic, city of­ficials noted the street improvement project was approved by resolution during last council session held on March 11; however, MoDOT recently notified the City of Ava that they require an ordinance, instead of a resolution. So, on Tuesday, council reaffirmed the previous decision by adopting City Ordinance No. 959 and authorizing Mayor Eddie Maggard to sign the contract.

The project, which begins in July, will install new storm water overflow drains and sidewalk upgrades along North Jefferson Street, from N. W. 12th Avenue to the Ava Square. In the contract, the City of Ava agrees to contribute $75,000 to the construction project which is slated to cost $1,422,000.

According to officials, the project will greatly improve the storm water overflow system along the business route, as well as eliminate flooding that commonly occurs one block north of the Ava Square.

The ordinance was passed with a 4-0 vote.

Administrative Director Peggy Porter provided councilmen with an updated financial report dated March 31, 2014. Porter said the city’s revenue stream continues to remain flat, and department heads have been advised to proceed cautiously with expenditures. She also noted to-date departments have stayed within budget constraints.

Porter advised that the city’s overall cash and cash equivalents remain steady at $2 million, with the majority of the balance in utility funds – monies earmarked for debts, bond requirements and major project disbursements.

The financial report was broken down by department, and offered a brief summary of revenues and expenses.

Janice Lorrain, Director of Development, reported the City of Ava recently qualified for grant money to cap Well No. 2, on North Jefferson, one block from the square.   Lorrain also noted she was presently working on a Safe Routes To School Grant, and will be receiving grant writing assistance from the PedNet Coalition, a national consulting group that helps communities meet goals. She said the City of Ava received a grant for their services.

Lorrain advised council the skate park construction project was being closely monitored and reviewed to keep the project on target and within the guidelines.

In addition, she noted the search had begun to find the right company to oversee pool maintenance for this fall, after the summer programs are over.

The Municipal Court docket was approved in a 4-0 vote, with motions from councilmen David Norman and Ric Engelhardt, and motions to pay the bills were given by councilmen Bill Long and Burrely Loftin. The vote was 4-0.

On behalf of the Douglas County Health Department, Sonya Hodges appeared before council to provide an update on the Healthy Schools, Healthy Communities initiative, a grant program recently received from the Missouri Foundation for Health.

According to Hodges, the five-year program will focus mainly on the nutritional well-being of children in kindergarten through eighth-grade, in three areas –– Ava, Skyline and Plainview, with the impetus to decrease the number of overweight children by five-percent. She advised council that the goals and ideas for the program are still being considered and framed; however, even though the groundwork is still being set, it is important to have city involvement and support.

In the presentation, Hodges cited five proposed goals: expand access to healthy foods; expand access to physical activity; increase awareness of healthy eating & physical activity opportunities; build a strong, diverse and engaged community partner­ship; and to grow a local healthcare commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles.

During closed, aldermen reviewed the wages of several city employees.

Councilmen present were Burrely Loftin, Bill Long, Ric Engelhardt and David Norman.

The Ava Board of Aldermen will reconvene on Tuesday, April 22, in council chambers at Ava City Hall. The meeting begins at 5 p.m.