ODESSA, Mo – A light agenda at the Odessa Board of Aldermen meeting was shortened even further by the elimination of two scheduled items.  The board met January 11, 2016 at 7 p.m. in the Community Building.

Standard business, including the approval of minutes and reports by the finance committee, was conducted without much contention.  Payment for spillway repair was briefly under discussion, in which it was remembered, an original contract for roughly $99,000 was increased to $135,000 by a change order, due to the corresponding discovery of additional damage believed to have been caused by the flooding, June 3, 2015.

Nothing was offered during public comments, where a previously scheduled discussion of conditions on McDowell street did not occur, since the resident was not at the meeting.

Those who had scheduled a request to use a city intersection as the location of a benefit for the late Brian Wolkey, determined it was unneeded, and that item was also passed over on the agenda.

The Mayor’s report contained a reminder that the grand opening of Trails Regional Library in Odessa would be 2:30 p.m. January 18, and congratulatory proclamations toward the High School.  A warning was also included to avoid walking on a frozen Lake Venita since it was dangerous, and also illegal.  In the case of an emergency, call 9-1-1.

Public Works Director, Paul Conway, discussed with the board possible plans to lease many pieces of needed equipment, rather than spend money on repairs.  The matter will be studied, and a report issued at a future meeting.

The bulk of the meeting was devoted to three requests by Helping Hands of Odessa, the local food bank.  Carol Sadler represented the organization, and asked for a public sign which would essentially reserve the parking needs of the facility.  Alderman Bellington, while sympathetic with the request, said it was not advisable and would set a “bad precedent” which could then be taken advantage of by others in the city.  Mayor Couch also expressed reservations, saying city ordinances would have to be altered if action were taken.  Police Chief Newhouse will look into possible parking options for the location.

A second request by Helping Hands was for the public installment of a hand railing along steps leading to the sidewalk.  City Attorney, Clay Barton, said that liability issues may stretch in both directions, for the city, and the property owner.  City officials will look into the matter for the future.

A third and final request was for the submittal of a newsletter to be sent with the city’s billing cycle.  This would advertise an upcoming rummage sale in the Spring, and the Christmas Store in the autumn months.  Sadler was concerned that a lack of publicity could lead to product shortfalls in serving approximately 130 families during the Christmas season.  Roughly 3,000 gifts are given by Helping Hands, according to Sadler.

The Administrator’s report included updates on city projects, many of which are for repairs caused by intense flooding last year.

Inquiries by residents regarding the possibility of FEMA funding for personal property damage were answered.  Ary stated that only public damage was being looked at by the city.  Interested residents should contact the County.