After the last two regular monthly meetings of the Verona board of aldermen adjourned without a quorum, the board met last Thursday afternoon to vote on some pressing matters that had gone by the wayside without the regular meetings.
The board was originally scheduled to have its monthly meeting last Tuesday, December 19, but in the absence of alderman Linda Gates, Mayor Joseph Heck announced there was no quorum and adjourned the meeting. However, because a crowd of citizens had shown up to have their voices heard on a matter regarding the possibility of the city joining the Aurora Rural Fire Protection District, the mayor invited those in attendance to join him in a back room at city hall to talk it out.
Prior to the scheduled meeting, a handful of Verona residents received an "informative letter" in the mail -- along with a Christmas card -- which made the case that joining the Aurora rural district would be too costly and urged people to attend the meeting.
At the informal discussion, Heck defended the idea of joining the district, with the help of Chief Aaron Siegrist, saying citizens would for the most part save money if the city joined, because insurance rates would go down enough to compensate for the increase in taxes.
The discussion went on for just under an hour, during which time a number of citizens and city employees discussed their thoughts and concerns on the matter -- a few with enough passion to warrant a stern warning by the police chief to calm down and speak in a civil manner.
Throughout the discussion, alderman DeDe Hutson and Gates (who had come in mid-way through) maintained their position that the matter needed to be left to the people of Verona to decide in a formal vote, but in the meantime, they needed the mayor to agree to a plan to get the current fire truck repaired. Eventually both sides seemed to understand the needs of the other, and thus the special meeting was called for the following Thursday.
At the special meeting, the council passed a motion to have the fire truck repaired at Jon's Mid America Fire in Rogersville for a bid of $10,967.85. The tanker truck will also have its rear seals repaired at Doty's Services.
Also at the Thursday meeting, the board passed a motion to renew the city's contract with Empire Electric for a time period of 10 years and passed a motion to renew with Trogdon Insurance for a less than one percent increase in premium.
Failing to pass was a bill to place on the April ballot the option for citizens to vote to remove city sales tax from motor vehicles, boats, trailers and outboard motors not sold by a Missouri licensed dealer. Alderman Michael Haynes voted "no" on the item, which needed a unanimous vote to pass.
The next regular meeting of the board of aldermen is scheduled for 7 p.m., January 22, at city hall.