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Yet another Peabody City Council resignation

Mayor makes appointments to fill vacancies

Staff writer

Robert Knapp, a seven-year resident of Peabody, was appointed by Mayor Larry Larsen at the beginning of Monday’s meeting to fill the unexpired term of Tom Schmidt who resigned from the council April 28.

Knapp is a retired businessman and the brother-in-law of Peabody City Administrator Mac Manning.

The four remaining council members voted 3-1 to accept Larsen’s appointment. Councilman Steve Rose voted against the appointment.

Knapp took his place at the council table for the balance of the meeting.

During the final standing committee report of the evening to discuss personnel issues, council member Pam Lamborn informed the council she had bought a home in Wichita and would be moving this week. The council meeting would be her last.

She had previously informed Larsen and Manning. Larsen announced his appointment for her council seat would be Travis Wilson.

Since Wilson serves as a part-time police officer for the city, council member Janice Woodruff asked if he was prepared to resign that position and Wilson indicated he had done so.

The council approved the appointment 4 -1 with Rose opposed again.

Another letter of resignation was presented to the council by Manning. Public works employee Jeremy Sears resigned for personal reasons effective May 9. Sears was hired to fill a public works department vacancy about two months.

The city will begin the search for an employee to replace him.

In other business:

  • Gene and Sharon Schmill were on the agenda to discuss water and possible mold problems with their downtown building that adjoins the Baker buildings in the 100 block of N. Walnut St. They rent their building to E&J Liquor and the upstairs houses an apartment. The Schmills requested information on plans for the Baker buildings and a timeline for changes. Larsen gave them a history of the project so far and outlined some of the problems that have occurred since the city, Peabody Economic Development, and Peabody Main Street joined forces to try to make the buildings an asset instead of a liability. After a lengthy conversation, no action was taken, but Larsen promised to keep the Schmills up to date on changes that might affect their property.
  • Council members approved a proposal by Manning to waive utility late charges on water bills for customers on a fixed income who receive their government checks after the due date for utility bills. Customers may apply annually for this waiver at the city building and must be able to provide proof that total household income does not exceed the allowed low/moderate income limits as published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The utility bill must still be paid in full on or before the shut-off day at the end of the month. Details will be included in the next city newsletter.
  • Manning presented ordinance 03-2014, allowing higher water rates because of the increase the city will be charged by Hillsboro and making landlords liable for tenants’ delinquency and/or non-payment of the utility bill. After discussion, the council tabled a decision until the next meeting.
  • Because of a mix-up in communication between Manning and the planning and zoning board, an agenda item to discuss recommendations for sidewalk improvement was tabled until the next meeting.
  • The council approved a recommendation by Manning to switch its computer maintenance service from Heartland Technology to Pixius Communications. The proposal from Pixius will mean better service, faster response to problems, a better backup system, and a savings of about $100 per month.
  • Council heard from Manning that a dividend payment of $3,480 was received from EMC Insurance for 2013.
  • Manning noted twenty-five mowing violation letters were mailed during the past week. Property owners will have 10 days to mow or the city will have its employees do the job and bill the resident.
  • Council approved changing the final May meeting from May 26, which is Memorial Day, to May 27 at the regular time.
  • The council went into executive session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel following the appointment of Wilson to Lamborn’s position. Police Chief Bruce Burke, Larsen, Manning, and Wilson all remained in the executive session. No action was taken on return to open session.

The next council meeting will be at 7 p.m. May 27 in the city building.

Last modified May 14, 2014

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