•by Alan McArthur
A debate at Tuesday night's Platte City Board of Aldermen meeting took place over whether to invest up to $25,000 on a welcome sign, and if so, where to put it.
The proposed sign could go in one of two places, either along Interstate 29 North or along 92 Highway East near Bethel Road. The $25,000 estimated cost of the sign is based on a similar welcome sign the City of Cameron built in 2004.
After discussion, only five of the six aldermen voted to look into the sign project further.
The mayor said the sign was a good idea and that the money saved from the Capital Improvements Program, CIP, could be used for the sign.
“I think the city has grown enough to have a sign on the east side of town,” said Dave Brooks, mayor. "Not long ago we saved a lot of money in the CIP, enough to build a sign. I think we need to do it, and I’m asking you for approval.”
One alderman expressed concern that the sign might not qualify for funds from the CIP.
“I don’t have a beef with the sign,” said Aaron Jung, alderman. “I might argue that it does not fall under the capital improvements plan.”
The mayor directed the question to the city administrator.
“You can use the money from the CIP for the sign if you want to or draw it out of the general fund,” said Keith Moody, city administrator. “Either way this is not a small investment.”
Another alderman pointed out the increase in the price of the sign over the first proposal.
“I see the cost went from $17,000 to $25,000, is that because of the interstate or just because?” asked Andy Stanton, alderman.
Moody responded that the cost was based on a sign built by the City of Cameron in 2004. The sign cost $23,000 for them to build at the intersection of Interstate 35 and Hwy. 36.
The mayor told the aldermen that the price will only increase in the future.
“If you hold off on this until some point in the future, you have to understand that inflation is going to raise the cost,” said Brooks. “I mean, Platte Woods has signs and they only have 450 people. Riverside, although Riverside has more money than God.”
Jung said he would rather get some citizen input on where to place the sign.
“Does it make sense to put one on 92 out east?” asked Jung. “I’ll throw that question out to the citizens.”
One of the issues brought up by Moody was where the sign would make the most impact.
“You have to ask, what’s the biggest bang for your buck,” said Moody.
“I think if MoDOT is receptive to the idea, we should put a sign in the triangle south of 92 and east of I-29,” said Kenneth Brown, alderman.
“I’d like to have a cannon on the sign,” said alderman Marsha Clark.
“I can just see a bunch of college guys hauling the cannon away in a truck to whereever,” said Brooks.
The board then voted on whether to allow the proposed item to be included in the preliminary budget. Five of the aldermen voted to move the proposed sign on, only Stanton voted against the item.
In other business, the board:
•Decided to let Stanton look into finding a cheaper place to produce identification cards for city employees outside of Platte City. Stanton is expected to provide a report back to the board by the next meeting.
•Approved the mayor to enter into a lease agreement with Jack Swaney. In exchange for a sewer easement, Swaney will be able to farm on land owned by the city near the Platte River.
•Changed an ordinance dating from 1986 banning pit bulls. The board approved the changes to more clearly specify the definition of what a pit bull is.
•Decided to move forward to become a member of the Pirates R.O.C.K. Program for the 2008 budget. The program promotes 12 character traits for students and the community. Platte City currently prints the traits on water bills sent to customers.