Friends & Neighbors,
The Dardenne Prairie Board of Aldermen met in workshop and regular sessions tonight, 8/19. Here is a summary of those meetings.
The BOA heard a presentation from Ms. Joy Howard, the city’s financial advisor for bond issues and like. She reported that the City’s Moody credit rating is AA2 which is pretty good! The reason for the high rating is the favorable ratio of cash reserves to debt, operating expenses, and/or projected revenue. That said, the City needs to have a Reserve Policy and an Investment Policy to determine how much money should be held in cash and how much can be invested in short term or intermediate term interest bearing T-bills or bonds. The city has long term debt over $4 million and a cash reserve of $3.4 million. What we need to do next is to develop a capital expenditure plan for 3 to 5 years to budget for infrastructure costs, over and above operating expenses. That will guide us to develop a plan to maintain an appropriate level of cash reserves and an appropriate level of investments in interest bearing accounts. Presently the City holds its $3.4 million reserves in accounts that earn 0.01% interest. We should have some of that in US Treasuries earning about 2% or more while protecting principal.
The BOA received a report regarding employee health insurance premiums for 2016. I am happy to report that we will remain at almost exactly the level of expense as 2015. Next year we may need to consider some changes when the impact of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) may kick in (if not delayed again by executive order).
The BOA received nominations for three new members of the Barathaven Community Improvement District Board of Directors: Craig Stankovich, Michael Luna and Tom Vonderheid, all residents and property owners in the Barathaven subdivision. Their nominations will be presented to the Board for approval in the regular business meeting on September 2.
Several citizens spoke concerning the regulation of chickens in Dardenne Prairie. There were several proposals to address the conflict between the zoning code which permits chickens on parcels of one acre in the R-1A zoning district and the animal regulation code that permits chickens only on parcels greater than 3 acres. Until just about one month ago nobody in the City had complained about chickens although citizens have kept chickens for years, even on parcels smaller than one acre. There was an interesting discussion about the philosophy of government. Should the City design a regulatory scheme to limit the number of chickens or the manner in which they are housed or the placement of chicken coops in relation to property lines or whether to “grandfather” existing flocks and prohibit new flocks. Or, on the other hand, to restrain the heavy hand of government from restricting individual freedom in the absence of actual evidence of injury to the public health safety and welfare. Besides, have you seen the price of eggs lately? The BOA voted to repeal the code section in the animal regulation chapter that prohibits chickens in parcels smaller than 3 acres. The BOA left intact the provision of the zoning code that authorizes chickens in the R-1A residential zoning district. The Board decided to wait to see if any complaints come in concerning chickens kept on residential parcels smaller than one acre. If we have not heard any complaints in the past why would we construct a regulatory regime to prohibit something that is not creating a problem? The conditions, covenants and restrictions (CCR) in individual subdivisions that prohibit keeping chickens remain in force.
The BOA held a public hearing concerning the proposal to declare a moratorium on approving development in the Uptown Zoning District while the City revisits the wisdom of that zoning classification. Last week the Planning & Zoning Commission voted unanimously to table the moratorium. After listening to several property owners in the Uptown District tonight the BOA also decided to table the moratorium. As one citizen said, the building code requirements of the Uptown District have created a moratorium on development for the past 8 or 9 years. The City will, however, proceed to hold public meetings to discuss what changes, if any, should be made to the Uptown District. Watch for announcements of meetings in the near future.
Sadly, I must report that Alderman Doug Santos announced his intention to resign from the Board of Aldermen to spend more time with his family. In his announcement tonight he alluded to some health issues concerning his son. We all commend Alderman Santos for his service to our community and for his willingness to devote time, energy and resources to the people of Dardenne Prairie. We wish him and his family well. We hope for a bright future for his family. I will miss his wise counsel and light hearted sense of humor. If circumstances change and he has time once again to dedicate to the people of Dardenne Prairie we will welcome him back to City Government.
Anyone living in Ward 2 who would like to be considered for appointment to fill the unexpired term of Alderman Santos may submit an Application for Boards and Commissions. Applicants should have their forms in to the City Clerk by August 27 to be placed on the Agenda for the BOA workshop meeting on September 2. Please come to the September workshop at 5:30 PM to address the BOA concerning your desire to serve the community. The BOA will fill the vacancy at a special meeting on September 16 at 7:00 PM.
The next meeting of the BOA is scheduled for Wednesday, September 2, beginning at 5:30 PM. The next meeting of the Planning & Zoning Commission is scheduled for Wednesday, September 9 at 7:00 PM. Come see your City Government at work!
“Shine a Light on City Government”
DAVID C. ZUCKER
City of Dardenne Prairie, MO