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story.lead_photo.caption FILE: The Mokane City Council met virtually Monday. Photo by Olivia Garrett / News Tribune.

MOKANE, Mo. — The Mokane City Council met virtually Monday evening, discussing a number of issues from sewer and water projects to cemetery restoration.

Water, sewer and flood

Mayor Pro-tem Chad Booher presented an update on the city's efforts to improve its water system.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has been trying to enforce water regulations in Mokane for over a decade, since before the city even controlled the water system.

Back in January, DNR provided Mokane with a checklist of deficiencies and recommendations.

"There were three major violations, and we have fixed all three of those and completed a majority of the other recommendations that aren't required," Booher said Tuesday.

The three addressed concerns include hiring a chief operator, consolidating and organizing records and ensuring the system has the correct equipment and is properly set up for chlorination.

Booher met with DNR representatives last week to go over Mokane's progress.

"They are not referring us for any type of violation," Booher said.

The city has also followed up on several DNR recommendations that were not required but encouraged.

"They were incredibly happy with everything we've done and love how proactive we're being," Booher said. "They said it was very refreshing and a nice change, so we're very happy about that."

The city is still working to put together an emergency plan and test city fire hydrants.

In June, Mokane voters approved a $2,469,692.40 bond issue to fund an overhaul of the city's water and sewer systems. On Monday evening, the council discussed a request for qualifications for engineers for the water project.

Since last spring, Mokane has been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to address damage done during last year's heavy flooding.

Booher said work with FEMA was slowed down due to the pandemic and due to the confusion, the agency misplaced some files related to Mokane.

"Most of everything I'm working on now is resubmitting things that were misplaced," Booher said. "Dennis and I walked with the building inspectors and went to every bridge in town — and we walk across them, walked under them, crawled down under to take pictures and stood and identified what was new damage from the last flood and what was there previously — They lost that."

The city has had to search for copies of those records and repeat some of the paperwork.

Pioneer Smith Cemetery

This summer, local teenager August Cross led an effort to clean up Pioneer Smith Cemetery, the old cemetery behind Mokane Christian Church. In support of his efforts, the city has begun researching ways to restore and care for aging gravestones.

"I met with a group of people that does cemetery refurbishment," Booher said. "We got a lot of really really good information."

In addition to resources on cemetery upkeep, he said the group also shared information on getting the cemetery recognized as a historic cemetery at the state and national level.

Some members of the community are interested in putting together a committee to work with the city to help ensure the cemetery is cared for.

"So we're going to get that information hammered out and maybe get it out to the community and see if anybody else wants to help out on that," Booher said.

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