Ava City Council Hears Water Rate Analysis, Approves Medical Marijuana Ordinance

by Michael Boyink / [email protected]

On Tuesday, July 23rd, the Ava Board of Aldermen convened for a business session at 5 p.m.

Water/Sewer Rate Study

Rates consultant Carl Brown of GettingGreatRates.com delivered a summary of his recent water/sewer rate study. Looking at the city’s water and sewer offerings as a business, Brown’s work included modeling different rate structures and how they would affect income. His main suggestion was to eliminate the current 1000 gallon usage allowance because it increases costs for low-usage (and likely low-income) customers. 

Brown provided recommended rate changes for the council to consider, but also indicated that additional discoveries while on-site in Ava caused him to change the status of his report from “final” to “preliminary.” Brown wanted to re-work his models based on the new information he’d received.

“These numbers don’t really mean anything yet,” commented Mayor Loftin. “It will be several months before we would vote to approve any rate changes based on this study.”

Brown did review Ava’s rate changes since his last local study several years ago and felt the city  had “done a good job in keeping up with inflation.”

Alderman Jones asked about unbilled water amounts. Mayor Loftin said that a recent DNR report indicated that the City of Ava shows about 11% of the total water production goes unbilled. Loftin indicated that the city would like to lower that number, but it wasn’t as high as other communities show.

Budget Report

Ava Treasurer Peggy Porter presented her six-month finance report. She indicated the city had a bit of a reduction in the General Fund, but it wasn’t unexpected. She commented that Ava was making progress on it’s debt level, and currently had cash reserves equal to roughly half of its debt.

Ordinances

The Aldermen acted on a number of ordinances:

Medical Marijuana Facilities – Bill #19/06.09

The Aldermen unanimously approved this ordinance, which includes the following stipulations:

Dispensaries must be located in a B-3 (general business) district.

Cultivation, manufacturing, and testing facilities must be in an I-1 (light industrial) district.

A Conditional Use Permit must be filed with and approved by the City before any marijuana-related business can begin operation in Ava. The permit must include a plan for how the business will prevent odors from being detected around the facility.

Facilities must be located 1000 feet from any school, daycare, church, or public building.

Dispensaries must operate between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.

No facilities can exist in a residence.

Traffic Noise – Bill #19/17.10

With language changes mainly to address the use of exhaust brakes (or “jake brakes”), the Aldermen heard a first reading of this ordinance, but deferred acting any further until the language could be reviewed further.

Wayfinding Signs – Bill #19/17.11

The Aldermen unanimously approved this ordinance, which was a formality between the City of Ava and State of Missouri to allow installation of four wayfinding signs around town.

Zoning Change – Bill #19/7.12

The Aldermen unanimously approved changing the zoning of 808 Springfield Road (PC Express)from B-2 Central Business to B-3 General Business.

Zoning Change – Bill #19/7.13

The Aldermen unanimously approved (with Billy Stewart abstaining) changing the zoning of 1207 Prince Street (owned by Lionel Stewart) from AG-Agriculture to B-3 General Business.

Wayfinding Signs

Mayor Loftin said the wayfinding signs were finally approved and on order. He expects help from the State of Missouri to install them.

Storage Building Roof

The roof on the city building on South Lister Street needs to be replaced. The City will advertise for bids this week.

Airport Card Reader

Loftin reported that the new card reader is installed and operable at the airport.

Generators

Mayor Loftin announced the City will also advertise for bids to provide 3 generators to provide emergency power for the Wastewater Treatment Plant, City Hall, and the Police Department.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Filters

Mayor Loftin said that the replacement of one water filter at the Wastewater Treatment Plant is scheduled for September, but could possibly happen sooner.

Brick Pavers

Loftin reported that the city expects to start laying the memorial brick pavers this week.

Grand Street Sewer

Loftin reported that the sewer project on Grand Street had already started.

Attendance

Councilmen present were Billy Stewart, Noel Dye, Keith Jones, and Stan Lovan.

Video

Video from the Ava Board of Aldermen meeting will be posted to the Douglas County Herald’s website at douglascountyherald.com and to our YouTube channel.

Next Meeting

City officials and aldermen will reconvene on August 13th at 5 p.m. at City Hall. Meetings are open to the public.