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Sturgeon swears in new mayor

Posted on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 1:26 pm

An audience of eight socially-distanced itself in Sturgeon City Hall the evening of April 26.

They were there to listen to their board of aldermen.

The agenda included waste water rate increases, a debt owed to the public water district and swearing in Mike Butler as their new mayor.

The board opened with a public hearing regarding changes to Sturgeon’s wastewater rate, including a $4 increase on the minimum

Sturgeon’s new mayor, Mike Butler, left, being sworn in by Donna Tracy, city clerk, as former mayor Steve Crosswhite, right, leaves the mayor’s seat and prepares to assume the duties of alderman. Cross white beat Stan Robinson for the Ward 1 seat.

availability charge. Though members of the public attended, none offered comment.

The aldermen unanimously voted in the change effective June 15.

They also unanimously passed a bill approving the formation of a three- to five-member wetlands advisory committee. The members are: Mark Perkins, Lester Adkisson, Zane Arends, John Gingerich and Ashley Long.

Outgoing Sturgeon Mayor Steve Crosswhite also discussed what he called an oversight on his and the aldermen’s part regarding  an error in the agreement between Sturgeon and Public Water Service District Number 10, regarding fees paid by the district to the city whenever a new customer moves into Sterling Meadows development adjacent to the Sturgeon Fairgrounds. “We know we legitimately owe the district $10,558.80.” Crosswhite said. “They know that we know that we owe it. They are putting us on the honor system.” City Clerk Donna Tracy recommended the city put the debt in next year’s water budget.

Scheduled discussion regarding working with the Sturgeon R-V School District on working with them to provide a school resource officer was tabled on Crosswhite’s recommendation because R-V Superintendent Geoff Neill was unable to attend.

They voted to approve the city election results.

That resulted in Butler taking the gavel as mayor, Crosswhite as Ward I alderman and Janice Butler’s re-election as Ward II alderman. Ashley Long was in voted in 4-0 as mayor Pro-Tem. Tracy was re-appointed as city clerk and Jackie Rodgers as city attorney.

In his report, Gingerich, city maintenance director said Socket Internet crews broke city water lines six times when Socket was in Sturgeon installing new internet service. “It’s adding a lot to our work load They had six crews in town… We had locator flags everywhere. I will do the paperwork for Donna to send them bills. They still have one crew left here.”

Gingerich said their wastewater system has been discharging from Danny Kyle’s pond.

He also said he had submitted applications from Danny Joiner and Mike Tompkins to work as summer mowers for the city. He said they both wanted to paid $13 per hour, more than the $10.30, advertised. “They both said they wouldn’t take any less.”

Alderman Janice Butler responded, saying “Tell them ‘bye.’” The rest of the board agreed.

“We need to talk it out,” we’ve got time… We need to look at our best options,“ Mayor Butler said, after Gingerich said if they could find one full-time mower operator then they could sell some of their mowing equipment.

They also discussed a new city burn pile on the donated land in the north east corner of Sturgeon, in the Proctor Street area. The aldermen instructed Gingerich to measure the distance between the nearest home and to possible burn pile location.

They also heard from Johnny Robinson of the Recreation Center Board. He introduced them to Rita Estes the center’s new full-time manager. He also said the new external and internal surveillance camera system is in place. “Now we can see what happens inside and outside the building.”

“We need to hire a new policeman,” Mayor Butler said, “But we are going to have to do a pretty extensive search to get who we want.” He said Tracy would work on that. Tht sold include a nation-wide law-enforcement hiring bulletin that could be utilized.

He also told the board it was time to accept former officer David Kelb’s resignation, which they unanimously did.

He also addressed Neill’s resignation from the board of the adjustment, which the aldermen also accepted.

“The welcome to Sturgeon sign needs a little more work,” Crosswhite said under the aldermen’s announcements. He said the school district would soon be done refurbishing the sign. He also reminded the aldermen of the upcoming COVID-19 vaccination clinic being hosted May 4 at the Sturgeon Youth Center for those aged 16 and older. The follow-up vaccination will be offered three weeks later.