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Council Accepts Bid for New City Hall Project

By Sue Curry Jones

On Tuesday evening, Ava Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to accept a bid of $303,281 from Bales Construction of Springfield, Mo., to remodel and rebuild the proposed city hall building on South Jefferson Street in Ava, Mo.  Bales was the lowest bidder on the project, with Nesbitt Construction of Springfield, submitting a bid for $330,600.

Mayor David Norman explained bids submitted on the project came in much higher than anticipated; consequently, Norman and several city officials held a meeting last week with Gaskin Hill Norcross Architects-Engineers, of Springfield, Mo., to re-evaluate the project and determine what expendable items, if any, could be removed from the remodeling project.  Norman said several fixtures and upgrades were deleted from the project, with the elimination of improvements, such as automatic doors, interior privacy doors, mopping sink, and other items that may be added later when money allows.

However, the revised cost was still higher than the original $250,000 set aside months ago, so to cover added costs, aldermen voted to transfer an additional $50,000 from the sanitation department fund to the project’s restricted fund. The vote was 4-0.  Administrative Director Peggy Porter explained the additional transfer was doable, as the account will still have $134,00 available for other budget items. Motions to transfer the funds were from aldermen Burrely Loftin and Leon Harris.

Motions to accept the low bid from Bales Construction were given by aldermen Keith Jones and Stan Lovan.

Council voted 4-0 to re-appoint Jerry Huffman as an Ava Housing Authority board member, for a four-year term.  A letter recommending Huffman had been received from Jim Thurman, commissioner of the local board.    Motions to re-appoint Huffman were by aldermen Loftin and Lovan.

The aldermen adopted revisions to two city ordinances, by adding a clause to Section 98-36 Service, that will require a separate water shut-off valve on the utility customers side of the meter, and a clause to Section 98-236 of Chapter 98, Article 1, that requires the installation of a sewer backflow protector and a sanitary sewer clean-out valve.   According to the write-up, installation of the equipment applies to new home construction, remodeling projects where plumbing fixtures are being added, and the replacement or repair of a sanitary sewer lateral.  Sanitary sewer clean-outs are to be installed at an accessible location between the home and the owner’s sewer main.

The clauses were approved in two separate readings, with each reading garnering unanimous votes.

Councilmen also approved the purchase of a new telephone system called the Managed Office System, by CenturyLink.  The new system will be installed for use at the new city hall location on South Jefferson.

According to Norman, city departments presently communicate via fax machines and this system costs the City an additional $200 per month in fax charges and fees.  He noted the new phone system will eliminate some of the present day expenses; and moving forward, city personnel will be instructed how to scan documents and share via email, rather than by faxing.

The new phone system is being purchased in a five-year agreement, with an on-going monthly cost of $693.  The system requires two-months of installation time, but according to Mayor Norman, city employees have already installed the cable.  The agreement includes maintenance costs, along with 3,000 minutes, each month, for long distance.  The system also has back-up options that keep the phones operational and functioning during disaster situations.

During executive session, City Clerk Suzanne Welsh reported the councilmen and officials accepted a letter of resignation from police officer Jason Owens.  In closed, several issues were discussed, but no votes or actions transpired.

Mayor Norman reported a fire chief from Aurora, Mo. will visit Ava this week to review the sites of the condemned buildings slated for burning and removal.  The Aurora fire chief is certified by the Department of Natural Resources to oversee and advise on such projects, and he is visiting Ava to assist the City with this process.

Norman also reported the fueling system at the municipal airport was delivered last week, and workers are continuing to complete the set-up with telephone and electrical lines as required for use.  The system should be in operation soon.

With a 4-0 vote, council voted to accept the July 17 municipal court docket as filed.  The aldermen also voted that only certain equipment is allowed on the city’s water towers; consequently, the ham radio repeater on the cemetery water tower is to be removed.

Councilmen attending the meeting were west ward aldermen Stan Lovan and Leon Harris, and east ward aldermen Burrely Loftin and Keith Jones.

The Ava Board of Aldermen will reconvene at City Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 5:00 p.m.   Sessions are open to the public.