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Centralia P&Z approves annexation

Posted on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at 6:00 am

The audience numbered nine, for the June 14 back-to-back meetings of Centralia’s Planning and Zoning Commission, Public Works and Public Utilities, and General Government and Public Safety committees. All the commissioners attended, plus Centralia Ward II Alderman Robert Hudson and Ward III’s Terri Motley.

The commission held a public hearing regarding annexing two tracks of land, and none of the public chose to comment on the voluntary annexation of two tracts of land owned by Clint Dubes, immediately north of Centralia.

“We will take it over as is,” Heather Russell, Centralia City administrator said. She also said the city would not be charging for connecting it to city electricity, because she thought the annexation, including a wood pallet manufacturing facility, would pay for itself through consumption of city utilities. The commission unanimously approved the voluntary annexation.

They also set the next meeting for 6 p.m., July 12 for further discussion of Darren Adams’ proposed North Pointe subdivision.

Answering a question from Centralia Mayor Chris Cox, Russell said it is a “completely different plan,” and will contain 27 homes.

Due to three aldermen not attending, Christina Stevens – Ward 1, Don Rodgers – Ward II, and Landon Magley – Ward III, the Centralia Board of Aldermen lacked a quorum and rescheduled the special meeting to be part of the Monday, June 21 meeting. Stevens and Magley arrived after the rescheduled was approved.

At 6:30 p.m., they began the meeting of the city’s Public Works and Public Utilities Committee.

“It sucks,” was how the public comment portion of the meeting began, courtesy of Linda Bormann, who was expressing her opinion regarding the city website. “And what is this net thing you are going to be talking about tonight.”

Russell said the “Net metering module” pertained to the process and regulation of people using solar power to supplement their residential energy needs.

Regarding the net metering module, with summer’s arrival, Russell said some customers are generating more electricity than they are using. That has caused city staff to need to hand-calculate the electricity credit due. The module, she said would make for a “cleaner record for auditing purposes… This program will allow us to do a few different things, fair market rate, ways to offset their cost.”

Russell said the city had between eight and 10 utility customers who also used solar power. The module, she said, would cost $10,000 to add to the city’s system.

Cox asked Russell to make sure there would be long-term customer support for the module.

They also informally approved the purchase of a used mini track hoe from Crown Power of Columbia for $67,289

The moved on to Public Safety and reviewed police and fire departments’ monthly reports.

Bob Bias, chief of the Centralia Police Department said calls were 30 percent higher than last year. “People are getting out more now,” he said in explanation.

Ward I’s David Wilkins complimented the department’s increased training schedule. That included a police chief’s conference for Bias, an SRO training for officer David Davenport, and federal anti-terrorism training for both. Bias said, the officers are averaging approximately 55 training hours annually. “We are definitely training more than the minimum.”

In other business, Russell said several new demolition permits have been issued.

She also said at least one abetment procedure is being delayed as they confirm that demolition has been contracted. She said abatement hearings for 415 and 425 South Allen are under discussion.

District Representative Cheri Toalson Reisch, dropped in to gift the city with a new Missouri flag and a new United States flag.