By Dianne Sudbrock
The New Melle Board of Aldermen met Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at City Hall. Those present included Mayor Richard West, Aldermen Nik Bradley, Gary Schneider and Janet Karrenbrock, plus City Attorney, Stephen Martin. Alderman Hendrich, the City Engineer, and the City Clerk were absent.
In Open Forum it was noted that New Melle was founded 180 years ago in 1839. St. Paul’s Lutheran Church will celebrate its 175th anniversary this year as well.
In Old Business:
• City of New Melle vs. Sullivan lawsuit: Attorney Martin said there was one more deposition scheduled in early April, then he will ask the court to set a hearing date.
• City Entrance Signs: Mayor West said he expected to have some draft designs by the next meeting. He said he hoped that in addition to installing signs that would welcome people to the community, that some landscaping could be installed around the signs as well.
• Approval of a Site Plan for Quarry Wine Garden and business license issue were both tabled pending a few minor adjustments to the drawings that were recently submitted.
• Trail from the Park at New Melle Lakes into New Melle: The P&Z Commission is contemplating this idea. No specific plans have been developed.
• Sinking concrete slabs at the entrance to in Nicole Park: Cochran Engineering is assessing the situation.
• Teen CERT: Mark Rosenblum, Director of Mid America Teen CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) gave a presentation and asked for the city’s support at a previous meeting. Mayor West said he was going to give his personal support, and encouraged the aldermen and City of New Melle to do the same. He said there is no cost, but evidence of community support is part of retaining the program’s federal certification.
• Charles County Contract Update: Attorney Martin had notified the board that the county was making some changes to contracts they held with various municipalities to standardize the language. New Melle currently contracts with St. Charles County for police service, code enforcement, building inspections and animal control services.
• Land Use Restrictions: This is regarding developing and implementing ordinances regarding the sale and manufacture of marijuana. Mayor West said the County Municipal League has been discussing the issue and he expected some of the larger cities to establish ordinances which the other cities could then use as a template.
• Drop Dead Date for Renewing A Business License: Mayor West explained that in Wentzville, if a business fails to obtain or renew a business license, there is a 60-day grace period, then fines are imposed, and if the business still fails to obtain a license, the matter ends up in court. New Melle needs to review and update its policy regarding delinquent business licenses.
• Bids for Lawn Services: Attorney Martin will review last year’s request for bids and have the City Clerk publish as soon as possible. Last year, The Greenwood Group was the only bidder, though a few other companies requested bid packets.
• Better Together Impact on New Melle:
Mayor West has been following the proposed “Better Together” initiative to combine the City of St. Louis into St. Louis County – which will come before a statewide vote later this year. Most of the municipalities in St. Louis County are opposed, and they are concerned that because the issue requires a change to the state constitution, it will be misunderstood in other areas of the state and might receive voter approval. The ballot language is also being challenged in court. Mayor West is concerned because there is talk that a proposed change in the ballot language could result in exempting larger cities from becoming part of the new combined government – but smaller cities might be forced to dissolve. West said if that initiative is successful, it could set a precedent for other counties could do the same.
West said he is also concerned about Wentzville expanding to the south, “They are as far as Hwy. N now, and once they hop over N, they are coming down Hwy. Z like wildfire.”
Public Water Supply District #2 announced at the last New Melle Chamber of Commerce meeting that they are going to construct a 30” water main from Hwy. 94 to Hwy. T, and that they have plans to provide sewer lines in some parts of unincorporated St. Charles County. West said, “That means they are expecting a lot of growth.”
He encouraged the aldermen to start reaching out to citizens. “We need to get over whatever is dividing us, or has divided us in the past, and bring people in to protect the way of life that we all enjoy.” He said, “Everybody wants to keep New Melle the way it is. The only way to do that is through controlled growth. We have lots of things going for us – low crime rate, high property values. We have to try and sell those assets. Otherwise, because of our small size, we will be swallowed up.”
The meeting adjourned at 7:40 p.m. The next regular Board of Aldermen meeting should be Tuesday, April 9, 2019.