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Centralia aldermen discuss city financial audit, appointments, burn ban

Posted on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 4:46 pm

Eight people listened in Centralia City Hall Monday night as their board of aldermen made appointments, listened to the results of the city financial audit, heard a resident’s concerns over burning trash and scheduled a nuisance hearing on four properties.

To start, they appointed Chris Wasson and Cody Beasley to the Centralia Tree Board.

Mayor Chris Cox said they both had arborist training from the University of Missouri.

They also heard about the City Audit from Amanda Schultz from Williams Keepers, the accounting firm contracted by the city to conduct the annual audit.

Schultz said the city’s financial statement had received a clean audit, “The best opinion you can get, the users can rely on the accuracy of this financial statement… We did not identify any material weaknesses.”

She did have three recommendations on deficiencies:

• Bank reconciliations

• Preparation of financial statements

• Network access

Valerie Werner discussing a burn ban with Centralia’s aldermen.

“If you owned Centralia Missouri you’d feel good about this,” asked Ward II’s Don Rodgers. “No concerns,” Schultz said.

Next they heard from Centralia resident Valarie Werner, who asked them to consider a burn ban.

“I have one neighbor who burns on the street and one who burns by the alley… It is hard for me to breath… I do have a granddaughter that visits me occasionally and she does suffer from asthma.”

She said she had a third neighbor who also burns “things that smell like plastic, very obnoxious odors… I would really appreciate the city considering this,” Werner said as she presented documentation from the EPA and the American Lung Association.

Mayor Chris Cox asked if she had ever reported the situation to the police, she said she had not. “I did not know that I could report that.”

Cox and Ward II’s Robert Hudson encouraged her to report the incidents in the future.

Bob Bias, chief of the Centralia Police Department said he had recently walked in the neighborhood and “had smelled something obnoxious.”

He also said the reports could be made anonymously. “If we have a complaint we can do something about it.”

She said even allowing the burning leaves and sticks still concerns her. “I don’t think it’s healthy for the environment, I don’t think it’s healthy for me.”

“We’ll keep an eye on it,” Cox said and asked the aldermen to revisit it at the next General Government and Public Safety Committee meeting.

The next discussed a proposed police department cadet program. Hudson said he was in favor of it.

Ward I’s Christina Stevens asked if there was room in the budget.

Bias and Hudson said there were room in the community outreach budget. City Administrator Heather Russell said it would cost less than $500.

Cox said anything that would help young people see law-enforcement “in the right light,” was a good thing.

Bias said four members of the CPD, including him, had been police cadets.

There are legal issues, said Cydney Mayfield, city attorney, regarding insuring the program. She said it came through the Boy Scouts of America, which is currently going through bankruptcy proceedings.

Rodgers said it was up to Bias to take research that concern. The aldermen agreed to table the issue until the insurance situation had been clarified.

Mayfield discussed an administrative nuisance hearing scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Wednesday night regarding properties on Number 4 Kellogg Drive, 308 Jefferson, 146 West Burnet and 720 South Central. “It is our burden to present our evidence and interview our witnesses.

“This time we are serious,” Rodgers said.