ST. ROBERT, Mo. (Nov. 15, 2008) — St. Robert aldermen will be asked Monday to reclassify a water department worker and to consider adding future positions in the trash transfer station and police department.
Lyle Thomas, the city’s director of public works, proposed at the Nov. 6 St. Robert Finance Committee meeting that the city add a second water technician position to a department that currently has a senior tech who is the section supervisor, a regular technician, and a laborer.
“We try to get everybody in the department certified so that they can carry a pager and basically any one of the three can be out on main breaks and do the work,” Thomas said. “One of our recent hires quickly gained his certification. Basically it works to the benefit of the water department to have all three certified, but at this point, the way the manning chart is structured, we would continue to pay him as a laborer and run the risk — the very real risk — of losing him to somebody else.”
Thomas said other sections are already set up with two techs and the possibility of a laborer.
“So why are you not proposing this for natural gas?” asked Alderman Theresa Cook, who chairs the finance committee.
City Administrator Norman Herren said there are two laborer positions for the natural gas department on the manning chart but are unfunded because the city’s natural gas program, unlike the other utility departments, has only 300 to 400 customers.
Alderman Todd Williams proposed adding an unfunded position to the transfer station to relieve workload for Doug Adkins, the trash transfer station manager, with funding to be considered for the position in the 2009 budget based on the recent addition of new programs to the trash transfer station.
Williams, who chairs the city’s emergency services committee, said Police Chief Curtis Curenton had proposed transferring an administrative clerk position to dispatch and making several other police department changes based on the city’s growing population.
“To his credit, he has looked at these changes as far out as 2012; he’s got a little foresight here,” Williams said.
The transfer of the administrative clerk to dispatch would wait until 2010, Williams said. Curenton proposed adding a detective position in 2009 and converting an officer position into a corporal post in the patrol division, with more patrol officers to be added in 2010 to total one sergeant and two corporals in the patrol division.
“I’ve got a bunch of figures here and I’ll wait until the study session for them,” Williams said. “He did some work on calls for service and population compared to officers. He’s looking out and looking down the road.”
Cook proposed that the study session on police department planning needs be held jointly with the emergency services committee and finance committee to save time for both committees and quickly bring a recommendation to a future city council meeting.
In related matters, finance committee members agreed with a proposal to pay $3,000 for this year to help the DARE anti-drug program at St. Robert’s Freedom Elementary School, currently staffed by Fort Leonard Wood’s Cpl. Mike Diaz, who is a trained DARE officer and has roughly 300 to 400 students participating.
“The school loves him,” Cook said. “The Waynesville School District has not paid any money for the DARE program in the last two years. I know, shame on the school district.”
The money would go for DARE T-shirts and small gifts such as rulers, pencils, pens and candy that promote awareness of the dangers of drugs and alcohol, Cook said. The shirts alone cost $2,000, Cook said.
St. Robert had its own certified DARE officer on the police department in 2006. The police department no longer has a certified DARE officer, but aldermen noted that Drew Cassidy, a St. Robert firefighter, is a certified DARE officer and may be interested in future years even though DARE is intended to be a police rather than a fire program.
However, finance committee members decided not to recommend making a requested $3,000 contribution to the Meramec Regional Planning Development Corporation, which is affiliated with the Meramec Regional Planning Commission. The development corporation seeking local matching funds to get another $500,000 grant to promote business development revolving loan fund lending in its eight member counties.
“We, as the city of St. Robert, have never made any contribution to the MRPC, MRDC, the RLF, or any of them,” Cook said. “We have used their services, we attend five committee meetings with the company … they’ve helped us out in many instances, we’ve gotten grants through them, this is just a way of us helping ourselves with this commission.”
Williams asked if Pulaski County had made a contribution; Cook said she didn’t know, but the letter had gone out to all MRPC members.
Herren said a direct contribution or donation isn’t possible and an intergovernmental service contract would have to be signed.
“They’re a very good organization but I think we need to say ‘Thanks but no thanks,’” Herren said.
An agreement might be possible in future years with advance planning, Herren said.
“We set our budget this year, and because of cost overruns on Pump Station 6, I think right now we are looking at approximately $350,000 cost overruns,” Herren said. “We know that some of that money will have to come out of those balances, and we have the balances needed to do it.”