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story.lead_photo.caption The John G. Christy Municipal Building is pictured in Jefferson City. Photo by News Tribune / News Tribune.

The latest step for flood recovery at Jefferson City Memorial Airport started at Monday night's Jefferson City Council meeting with a proposed bill.

City staff in the Department of Public Works is proposing an agreement for $54,350 with Burns & McDonnell to put together bid documents to replace the field lighting at the airport.

Operations Division Director Britt Smith said the field lights were installed in 2016 but need to be replaced due to damage from the flooding this spring.

Burns & McDonnell, a Kansas City-based construction engineering company, would evaluate the airfield lighting and consult with the city through the process of creating bid proposal documents for the work, Smith said.

Department of Public Works Director Matt Morasch said the work could be eligible for grant funding.

At the airport, staff is waiting for the results of an inspection of the terminal building to determine how to proceed with demolition, Smith said, but the airport is otherwise in business.

"Basically we're business as usual," Smith said. "There's some technical issues and things that don't work, but there's two ways to do most everything. So maybe we don't have one way, but we've got another one."

In early November, Smith said once they are ready to accept bids for the demolition, they expect the process of awarding a contract to take approximately two months.

In total, the expected timeline for demolition is about five to six months.

Short-term rentals

The council passed an amendment to the city's zoning code pertaining to short term rentals during Monday's meeting.

Prior to the amendment, short-term rentals — commonly done through online platforms — were permitted in commercial and mixed-use zoning districts. The amendment allows them to be permitted in residential and industrial zones, as well.

Before the amendment, short-term rentals were only allowed in residential and industrial zones if the property owner acquired a special use permit, which required a process including public hearings before the Planning and Zoning Commission and the council.

Since the city adopted a short-term rental ordinance in 2017, there have been nine special exception permits requested, with eight being approved by the City Council, City Planning Manager Eric Barron previously said.

Under city code, property owners can rent a house to someone for less than a month, or rent a lodging room where someone rents a single room or basement for less than a month.

At their October meeting, the Jefferson City Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously recommended approval of making short-term rentals permitted uses within all zoning districts.

Under the ordinance, property owners renting out one room have to pay the city's 7 percent lodging tax. They will also need business licenses to operate short-term rentals.

The amendment was passed 8-2, with Ward 4 Councilman Carlos Graham and Ward 2 Councilman Rick Mihalevich voting against.

Graham said he voted against the bill because of concerns he's heard from his constituents.

"I favored the original process, in which all of those individuals would come before the Planning and Zoning (Commission) and go through that process, therefore the individuals and the city would know exactly where those (short-term rentals) are located," Graham said. "Now it's just opened up to the city to where it's just anywhere."

He also said he was concerned about the one permit that was rejected originally, which would now be allowed because the process would no longer be in place.

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Modern Litho-Print Co.

The council also approved a bill allowing the city to issue taxable industrial development revenue bonds to Modern Litho-Print Co. in an amount not to exceed $5 million. The bill was approved 9-0, with Ward 3 Councilwoman Erin Wiseman abstaining.

The bonds would finance the costs of equipment purchased by the company as part of an expansion of their printing facility, which includes a new $3.75 million printing press and sheeter.

The bonds fall under Chapter 100 of state statute, which allows a city to finance costs of distribution facilities or industrial plants, purchase equipment then lease the equipment to the company.

The $5 million bonds to Modern Litho would also provide personal property tax abatement for the equipment purchased. When the bonds close, the ownership of the project equipment will move from the company to the city, allowing it to be exempt from personal property tax as a result.

The city then would lease the equipment back to the company. The company would get a 50 percent tax abatement on each portion of the project equipment for seven years, if they agree to make certain payments-in-lieu of taxes equal to 50 percent of the assigned property tax and create and maintain 25 new jobs.

Haden Crumpton, the city's bond counsel, told the council at a previous meeting this system creates no financial risk on the city's part, except the personal property tax abatements provided. The risk for the bonds would still fall to the company, which is essentially purchasing its own bonds.

Modern Litho President Darrell Moore said the press and sheeter, which the company installed back in July, will increase the Stertzer Road facility's capacity by 18,000 sheets per hour, or up to 50 million sheets per year.

As part of the agreement, Modern Litho will be expected to create 25 new jobs.

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Parks, Recreation and Forestry

In other business, the council approved a supplemental appropriation for the purchase of two vehicles for the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.

The appropriation within the parks fund will purchase a dump bed truck and aerial bucket truck for a total of $171,548.

The purchase was approved in last year's fiscal budget, but due to back orders, Ford was unable to provide the vehicles during that time, Director Todd Spalding said.

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Warning siren

Council also approved an agreement between the city and Cole County for the purchase of a new outdoor warning siren, which will be installed behind the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce building on Commercial Way.

The county was awarded grant funding for the project in August, and will share the cost of the siren with the city.

According to the bill, the city will pay $20,269, which is 57.5 percent of the total cost of $35,269. The county will cover the rest.

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