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At its Monday meeting, the Jefferson City Council approved a bill authorizing a $25,350 contract with Advanced Electric & Communications of Jefferson City to remove old warning siren poles. Public Works Director Matt Morasch said the 13 poles were being removed for safety and aesthetic reasons and were unnecessary because of the installation of a newer siren system.

Morasch said the project would be funded with Capital Improvement Sales Tax F funds.

Several new bills were introduced, including one which amends the existing ordinance pertaining to the new Austin Peters Compensation and Classification Plan. City Administrator Steve Crowell explained the change accelerated the implementation of the higher salaries stipulated in the pay plan from the previous April 23 to the April 9 pay period — with the paycheck date of April 28.

"This amended implementation date allows expenditures to still remain within the $575,000 budgeted by the City Council," Crowell said. "This ordinance only amends the implementation date and makes no other changes to the City Council's previous implementation direction."

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The Council gave a first reading to a bill authorizing a $278,564 program agreement with the Missouri Department of Transportation to accept a Transportation Alternatives Program grant. The project will provide for construction of sidewalks along the northern side of the 1400-1800 blocks of Missouri Boulevard, from Beck to Waverly streets.

Morasch said the work includes pedestrian and bicycle improvements, including a striped and signalized crosswalk across Missouri Boulevard at Southwest Boulevard — a first for that portion of Missouri Boulevard.

The city's 20-percent match on the project would amount to $69,641 and would be drawn from the half-cent Capital Improvement Sales Tax Fund, Morasch said.

The Council approved a resolution authorizing the city to apply for a $150,000 Recreational Trails Program Grant. If approved, the grant will build a trail/on-street connection between the Wears Creek Greenway from the trail head at Dunklin Street to the East Branch Greenway trail head at Marshall Street. The city would match 20 percent of the grant.

In one other piece of city finances, the Council authorized the release of two special tax bills totaling $2,483 on the somewhat notorious property at 415 East Ashley St.

"The property is a residential tract which has been the subject of regular abatement actions by the city's code enforcement division over the years," said Sonny Sanders, interim Planning and Protective Services Department director. "In June, the property was subject of an administrative search warrant that resulted in the property being condemned and removal of over 60 cats and a dog."

The issue was resolved when the owner and lien holder, a resident of Grimsby, Ontario, donated the property to River City Habitat for Humanity. Sanders explained, "The new owner has other ownership interests in properties in the vicinity and a strong track record of creating affordable housing for low income individuals, which is a vast improvement from the prior situation." City staff approved the action Jan. 19.

Carolyn Goyda, who had been a tenant at the Ashley Street property and was charged in the animal removal case, had a misdemeanor charge of animal abuse dismissed against her on Tuesday. All of the animals that were removed survived.

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