Trenton City Council discusses employee increases, animal welfare committee and more at Monday’s meeting


A variety of topics came to Trenton City Council on Monday evening for a meeting which had to be moved due to the lack of power at City Hall while TMU spent much of Monday replacing a utility pole on the parking lot and restore electricity. The council, as did the Building and Nuisance Council, met at the TMU warehouse.

Topics included potential increases in the cost of living for employees; a grant application for police and fire equipment; an agreement for an engineering company to provide services on a TMU project; the formation of an animal welfare committee; place an order for two backhoes; allow vendors to set up shop one afternoon a month downtown; a request to financially support Main Street Trenton and the Trenton Downtown Improvement Association; the announcement of two solid waste collection events and hearing more complaints about household waste not being picked up on time.

City Council has pledged to consider a $1.00 per hour cost-of-living allowance for all employees if a certain income level is reached or if the semi-annual financial review indicates that the city will achieve a balanced budget for exercise. The “cola” is linked to the number of sales of asphalt in the street section. Officials have cautiously budgeted 12,000 tons of asphalt to sell, which would generate $840,000. If by December the city sells 21,000 tons of asphalt – $1,475,000 in revenue, then the council commits to addressing the rising cost of living.

The budget approved by council two weeks ago for the city’s fiscal year beginning May 1 projects a deficit of $546,000. Indeed, the $635,000 in additional asphalt sales, if realized, would be enough to cover the one-year budget deficit. No increases were allowed for employees when the council passed new budgets for the city and TMU.

City Administrator Ron Urton said it was his intention that the potential cost of living increase would apply to all city and TMU workers, including those who are salaried. But the final decision will come to the city council in the middle of the next fiscal year.

On Monday evening, the city council also received a request for $10,000 to go to Main Street Trenton and the Trenton Downtown Improvement Association. This amount would be shared between the city and TMU. Cathie Smith, on behalf of both groups, said similar requests for $10,000 in funding will be made to the Grundy County Commission and North Central Missouri College. Ms Smith said current funding comes from memberships, events, grants and interest received on business loans, but it is not enough to cover a director’s annual salary and operating expenses.

When questioned, City Attorney Tara Walker said an agreement would be needed for services rendered if funds were to be allocated to Main Street and the downtown association. Mayor Linda Crooks, via zoom, called it a good idea, but with a budget already in deficit, the council needs to think about its employees. Council voted last night to file the application and reconsider the matter.

The North Central Missouri Development Alliance. Its manager, Scott Sharp, attended the council meeting to get input on the possibility of having specialist vendors downtown for three or four hours one afternoon a month from May to October, suggesting the third Thursday . The board decided to charge vendors a $15 fee each time they participated. That’s the same rate charged to food truck vendors who can set up shop for three hours on a Wednesday.

Although Sharp intends to start small, it may consider potentially shutting down Main’s 1000 block to ensure safety. The council asked the city attorney to write an amended order that would allow the seller’s installation and charges. (Annual commercial licenses cost $50)

In other activities, the council voted to proceed with the order of backhoes for water and wastewater service and one for street service to beat the planned April price increase. $45,000 has been budgeted for each, which would be just enough for the current cost of new machines that would replace those that are 18 and 20 years old.

A mandatory public hearing was held on Trenton’s request for USDA rural development money to cover part of the cost of the communication radios in police cruisers and the fire department’s air compressor to fill breathing tanks . Nearly $80,000 in federal funding is being sought with the balance of equipment costs paid by the city. The request must be finalized and presented to the city council next month, which would then authorize the mayor to sign.

The council voted seven to none to approve Howe Company engineering services for the replacement, rehabilitation and extension of Pleasant Plain sewer lines and lift station on Iowa Boulevard. Planned expenditures are approximately $98,000. Construction costs of over $1 million would be spread over two fiscal years.

A draft order for an animal care committee has been accepted. It will consist of five members and one liaison member of the council appointed by the mayor. The city attorney noted that it would be an advisory committee reporting to the council.

After discussion, the council requested three quotes to paint the old Trenton R-9 council building at the Trenton Municipal Airport, accepted an asbestos inspection offer from Red Rock of Kidder at $250 per residency plus lab fees; demolition offers are requested for nine houses;

The council authorized the Bluestone Environmental Group to obtain groundwater samples to confirm any presence or absence of volatile organic compounds at 1712 Harris Avenue. It was the location of the old Trenton Grain Warehouse which operated from the late 1950s until about 1972. The site is currently used by the City of Trenton Fire Department as a burn training facility . The Missouri DNR asked the USDA to arrange for a company to obtain the groundwater samples with storage in 55 gallon drums.

City worker Brent Romesburg told council his garbage was finally picked up on Monday afternoon when the regular schedule said it should have been Friday. He talked about other people on Pleasant Plain who have been missed on the litter roads. City officials say the prompt withdrawal promise letter to be included in TMU’s bills has still not been provided. The city attorney intends to speak to Rapid Removal’s attorney.

The board authorized the Northern Missouri Solid Waste Management District to locate a 40-foot freight container at the Trenton Street Department for use in two scheduled collections this year in Trenton. Solid waste management planner Ann Hamilton said council collections have not taken place for the past two years due to COVID-19. Plans are underway, however, to have a household hazardous waste collection and another for appliances, electronics, tires and batteries. Dates have not been set. As in the past, volunteers would be on hand to help the public dispose of qualifying items. Previously, these items were collected at a 7and and the Lake Street building.

Seven members of Trenton City Council attended in person or via zoom in the absence of Kevin Klinginsmith.

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