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Brown, Brooks have lively exchange

by Mark Vasto
Landmark reporter

In their first public exchange since Alderman Gary Brown declared his candidacy for mayor, Mayor Dave Brooks and Brown had a brief but lively exchange at Tuesday night's meeting of the Platte City Board of Aldermen.

As soon as the general discussion period of the meeting was announced, Brown pointedly asked City Administrator Keith Moody if Platte City was awarded a $2,790 refund from MARCIT, the public entity insurance pool that provides the city’s insurance.

After Moody acknowledged that the city had received the refund last August, Brooks immediately attempted to appropriate it. Brown suggested that the aldermen bring the Platte City Chamber of Commerce back to the full funding of $10,000 the city had agreed to provide the chamber before slashing the amount in last August’s budget workshop.

“Since we shorted the chamber of commerce this year, I make a motion that we restore the $2500 dollars out of this insurance award,” Brown said. “We have the money now that we can give back to the chamber.”

Brown pointed to the recent vote of the aldermen to add Caller ID to the mayor’s office, City Hall and police department as justification for the motion. Brown reasoned that if the board could vote to add that $1,000 unbudgeted expense, then they could surely amend the budget to account for this unexpected award.

Moody explained to the board that the award had already been reimbursed to the various city departments that received insurance. Brooks then told Brown that the city had needed to cut the funds from the chamber in order to balance the budget. He then turned the tables on Brown, asking him how he would redistribute the money that was already reimbursed.
“That was additional income,” Brown said. “Even though it was reallocated, I think this (motion) would be an act of good faith.”

Brooks then brought up the public works report that the board had just discussed. The report told the aldermen that the department was rapidly running out of funds and nearing the end of its salt and sand supply.

“We just addressed the situation that we’re out of salt and sand,” Brooks countered, asking Brown if he thought refunding the chamber was important enough to do when the winter season was still upon them. Brown replied that he felt it was.

At that point, Brooks asked if there was any second to Brown's motion but there were no takers among the aldermen. The motion died on the table.

After the meeting, a characteristically feisty Brown criticized the decision.

“The salt and sand thing is something that we confront every year,” Brown said. “Last year we didn’t use all of our salt and sand. If they didn’t spend (their entire budget) all last year, then where did it go this year? (The mayor) talks about salt and sand and then they spend $1,000 on Caller ID.”

Brown, who voted in favor of adding Caller ID to the city-owned phone lines, also criticized Moody for reallocating the award money without discussing it with the board first. He claimed that Moody never bothered to discuss the additional funds with the aldermen or ask where that money should go.

The chamber, which has a fiscal calendar that runs from July 1 to June 30 has said the cuts won’t affect them until July. Brown said that with his motion, he made it clear that he believed the money should be given back to the chamber.

“I think it’s a valiant thing to do if we’re wanting to build a good relationship with the business community.”

In other aldermen action:
•The board voted unanimously to vacate an alley that runs between two parcels of property owned by Platte City and Casey’s General Store. The move clears the way for a proposed expansion of the Iowa-based convenience store located at Hwy. 92.

•The board voted unanimously to repeal and amend a section of the Platte City Zoning code as it relates to floodplain regulations. According to Moody, the Federal Emergency Management Administration reviewed and recommended the changes so that they would conform to regulations they require for disaster relief assistance.

•Police Chief Joe McHale acknowledged the cooperation between the city and the Platte County Sheriff’s Department in the fight against illegal narcotics. "Sheriff Anderson has supported us tremendously, as has his command staff,” McHale said. “We’re a growing city and the people that are supplying us with narcotics won’t be tolerated. We’re going after them.”

•Heard a speech from Susan Brown of Concerned Citizens of Platte County in regards to the proposed Great Plains Power plant at Iatan (see “Concerned Citizens,” pg 1).

•The Platte City Historical Society asked the aldermen if they had any space where the society could store historical tax records of the county for genealogical research purposes. According to Diane Pepper and Laverne Taulbee of the historical group, the county has a statute mandating that such records cannot leave the city limits of the county seat. The board said they would look into the matter but offered no resolution at this time.


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