The Marionville board of aldermen gathered for its January meeting last Thursday, settling several items of old business, including plans to move ahead on plans to replace/improve the city's storm sirens and file a grant application for Logan Park.

In the first item of old business, the board members heard from Emergency Management Director Kris Bowling, who had compared plans and prices for repairs and upgrades to the storm sirens. A representative from Blue Valley Public Safety also spoke, informing the council on his company's offer to completely replace a defective siren, as well as upgrades to existing sirens and full access to the company's software services.

Despite the cost -- a total of $49,269.93 -- Bowling suggested the city go with Blue Valley's plan in the interest of public safety. The service and software, he suggested, would be worth it because the equipment could be tested silently at any time, activated from anywhere, and sirens could be set to go off during a storm for whatever length of time the city saw fit.

Ultimately the aldermen in attendance agreed, passing the motion to move ahead with the Blue Valley plan by a 4-0 vote with two members of the board absent on the night.

Also in old business, the council passed a resolution authorizing the filing of a grant application with the state Department of Natural Resources, after opening the floor to public input. Having failed to receive grant funds for work in the Logan Park property in the past, the city has made extra effort to go through the necessary steps to do so this time around -- "making sure all the 'Is' are dotted and the 'Ts' are crossed" according to Mayor Chris Murphy. Part of this effort includes working with the Southwest Missouri Council of Governments, which helps cities and counties in the area with grant-writing and other services for the betterment of the communities.

With the help of SMCOG, and a unanimous vote to approve the resolution, the board will be able to file the grant under the Recreational Trails Program.

In other old business, the council voted to reappoint those with expiring terms to the planning and zoning commission and discussed plans to address problems found during past smoke testing for the sewer lines. A motion on the latter was passed to inform homeowners who had been identified as having issues that could be easily fixed.

In new business, the board heard from Kathy Urschel, who informed the council that a sewer rate increase of 50 cents per 1,000 gallons was recommended in order to begin building the city's eligibility for future grants. The council acknowledged that such an increase could be a burden on some citizens but recognized that without funds to make repairs to the system, bigger problems would arise down the road. The last increase in rates was in 2016, five years after the most recent one before that, according to Urschel.

Unable to approve an increase without input from the citizens, the board agreed to hold a public hearing on the night of the next regular council meeting.

Before entering into closed session, the board members voted to approve a resolution adjusting the final 2018 budget, approved a necessary transfer of money into the Sewer Replacement Account, and posed for photos with Lt. Krissa Bliss, who had earlier in the meeting been presented with a Patriot Award by the ESGR (see accompanying story on page 1).

The board will meet again for its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m., February 14, at the fire station. The public hearing will begin at 6 p.m.