Quenemo mayor walks out, council reorganizes

QUENEMO—Eight minutes after calling the meeting to order, Quenemo Mayor Bruce Rose responded to a disagreement by asking maintenance supervisor Mike Watts for a pen, then scribbled “I resign” on the back of a piece of paper, and walking out of the council chambers.

The paper just happened to be a copy of a resignation letter from Chris Boggs, who served just four months after being elected in April.

Under the direction of Quenemo City Clerk Christina Hall, the council reorganized, first by swearing in former council member Ray Bennett, whose term expired in April. Bennett had not filed for reelection.

With three members in place, the council sought a new president to replace former council president Jessica Rose, who had resigned at the July meeting. Council members Adam Anderson and Bennett each nominated themselves for council president. Steve Casteel cast the deciding vote, making Anderson the council president, and by vacancy, the mayor of Quenemo.

The council then nominated and approved Ron Parker to fill one of the two open positions. The council accepted the resignations of Rose and Boggs.

The remaining position was vacated by Robert Canon, who had attended one meeting since being elected in April 2011. The council has been working with city attorney Michael Coffman and county attorney Brandon Jones to vacate the position so a new member can be appointed.

City Accountant Mike Peroo discussed the annual budget, and proposed a .005 reduction in the mill levy from 56.310 to 56.305 (see Quenemo City Budget on page 13). With several new members on the council, Peroo went through some of the unique items that affect the local budget.

“The population of your city has had a significant decrease,” Peroo said of the city’s 388 population. “Anytime you lose population to a city, the roads haven’t changed, the miles of line haven’t changed, you’re just getting less of a base to support it. That becomes pretty drastic over time.”

Additional budget challenges included the high percentage of rental properties, which is 30 percent, and the average value of homes at $38,000.

“Normal is 10 percent,” Peroo said. “This impacts the assessed value of the city.”

Peroo also noted a high rate of tax delinquency (15 percent), looming bonds locked in at high percentages, and a three percent decrease in the assessed value.

“That doesn’t sound like a lot, but the normal change in a city is a slight increase every year,” Peroo said.

“Our delinquency numbers are still high,” said council member Steve Casteel. “How is that going to affect (the budget).”

“At this point, that’s all factored in,” Peroo said.

“I guess at this point we need a guy with a shot gun to get it paid,” Casteel said.

“That would be one approach,” Peroo said.

Delinquent taxes appear on page 8 of this week’s paper.

The council approved the budget as presented, and set a public hearing for 6 p.m. Aug. 22.

In other business, the council:
• approved $75 for a new high chair for the community building, donation of $100 to PRIDE for Quenemo Days Sept. 28, and purchase of a tape recorder for use during meetings.
• approved that Hall attend a FEMA meeting from 1-4 p.m. Aug. 29 in Lyndon.
• approved booster advertising in The Osage County Herald-Chronicle.

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The Osage County Herald-Chronicle

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