Neely to MV aldermen: Public Works needs new HQ building

Steve Chapman

A member of Mt. Vernon’s Public Works Department told the city’s board of aldermen that the department needs a new building for its headquarters. City employee Chad Neely, who has worked for Mt. Vernon for 18 years, addressed the board during its meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 23.

Public Works needs a large headquarters
Neely said one problem with the current Public Works headquarters, which sits along Highway 39 in west Mt. Vernon, is the size of the building.
“One of the biggest issues with it is it isn’t big enough,” he said. “As the city’s grown, they get more and more infrastructure, bigger water lines (and) different parts. You have to have spare parts for everything. In case something breaks, you’ve got to replace it. You can't be like, ‘Let’s leave the water off until we get a part in, so it's good to keep a big inventory of parts.”
However, Neely added, the current building can’t hold their entire inventory of spare parts, so the department has to find other ways of storing them. Sometimes, this compromises the integrity of the parts.
“The shelves are full,” he said. “We’ve spilled out into the floor, (and) we've got the outbuildings as full as we can, and … sometimes stuff just has to be put outside. And there's been many issues where you go to use a part, and the integrity of the part’s been compromised.”
Neely said the size of the building also creates problems for the members of the department when they must park vehicles.
“There's only room for one vehicle in the shop at one time,” he said. “So, any time you're working on a backhoe to get the backhoe in the shop, you have to let the back boom down, pull it in, and then you’ve got about six inches on each end to walk around. Same thing with the trucks.”

Mice making themselves at home in building
Another problem with the current Public Works headquarters, Neely said, is that the building has a mouse infestation. He said there are a number of ways mice can enter the building, which has attracted them. Sometimes, he said, the mice will nest in spare clothing that employees keep in the building or will eat food that is left unattended. However, he added, it is not a problem that an exterminator can fix.
“We’ve probably killed at least 40 mice this year with traps and whatever else we can use,” he said. “It's not really something you could exterminate, because they come back. The buildings are pretty open.”
Other problems Neely mentioned included roof leaks which can no longer be repaired in the building where the department stores the city’s sewer machine, which has caused the ceiling to be covered with black mold and water running through the shop during heavy rainfall. He asked the board to relocate the headquarters.
“I think just relocating (and) finding some land for sale would be the best solution, something above the floodplains.”
Neely also said if something wasn’t done soon, he believed the situation would only get worse.
“We’ve patched (the building) and patched it and patched it,” he said, “and I really think in the next two three years, if we don't do anything, the roof is going to be on top of the sewer machine.”

In other business
The board passed an ordinance authorizing a joint use agreement between the city and Mt. Vernon Investments for certain property in the city. The city also approved a bid from Emery Sapp and Sons, Inc. to Missouri Drive Street Expansion project, at the recommendation of Anderson Engineering. Emery Sapp and Sons had the lowest bid at $1,087,885.63. They also approved a change order for the Spirit of ’76 Park Pool Renovation in the amount of $22,156. The cost covered the removal of material around the pool after the pool walls were cut, and the removal of the kiddie pool.
Additionally, the board authorized Public Works to spend up to $66,792 for the purchase of 12 single phase pad mount 25 KVA transformers, to be used for the Moore Ranch Estate development. The board also authorized the department to spend up to $10,000 for a replacement gear unit for the city’s wastewater plant. Dustin Davis, director of public works, said he added 15-percent to the listed price of each purchase to cover any unexpected rate increases, as well as the cost of freight.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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