City to review sewer rates, includes scooters in traffic ordinance

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By MICHAEL FREEMAN (WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) – The City Council on Tuesday agreed to review sewer rates and to include scooters in its code of ordinances covering intoxication-related traffic offenses.
The council authorized HDR Engineering to complete a partial analysis of the sewer rate structure for Warrensburg. The goal of the analysis is to determine if a new pricing structure is needed because the city has been dissatisfied with the current pricing model.
HDR Engineering will determine an average use rate for residential users, complete a comparison of winter use to average use, and make recommendations based on their findings. The engineers will report on their results at the Nov. 26 City Council meeting.
Chairman Pro-Tem Charlie Rutt said it could be hard to please everyone with a new pricing structure, especially if water bills rise for some and decrease for others.
“I think it may be a hard sell,” he said. “I’m guarded about what the outcome will be.”
The council also agreed to amend an ordinance regarding intoxication-related traffic offenses. Under the previous code, the definition of a motor vehicle did not include scooters or motorized bicycles. The amended ordinance now defines motor vehicles as “any mechanical device on wheels, designed primarily for use on streets or highways.”
In other business, the council discussed a proposed pedestrian and bicycle trail linking Warrensburg and Knob Noster. The Johnson County Trails Coalition recently applied for a grant of some $440,000 for the trail. City Manager Paula Hertwig-Hopkins is optimistic about the coalition’s chance of receiving the grant, which is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Transportation.
“We have a very good chance,” Hertwig-Hopkins said. “I’m not sure that we can get all of it, but we have put together a very attractive application.”
The coalition’s submission outlines a four-phase proposal with more than 10,000 feet of trail and a 50-foot pedestrian bridge near the Lake Ridge subdivision in Warrensburg.
The grant requires applicants to match 20 percent of the total amount provided. If the application is accepted, major stakeholders of the coalition must produce a combined $115,000, bringing the total project cost to more than $550,000.
The major stakeholders are the City of Warrensburg, University of Central Missouri, Johnson County and Whiteman Air Force Base.
Hertwig-Hopkins said Whiteman officials have expressed enthusiasm for the project. Also, Mayor Don Butterfield and UCM President Dr. Charles Ambrose each issued statements in support of the initiative.
In the future, the trail could potentially lead visitors from the Warrensburg Depot downtown to the Katy Trail. Along with the upcoming improvements to the train station, city officials think the trail could attract tourists from all over the country.
“The plan provides a framework for connectivity long term,” Hertwig-Hopkins said. “Having a trail from the depot to the Katy Trail would be huge.”
Also on Tuesday, Brett Penrose, project manager with the Warrensburg Community Development Department, gifted the city two framed paintings by his father, John Penrose. The paintings each feature a different locomotive cutting through a lush Missouri countryside.
“My father had a big love for trains,” Penrose said. “He was a farm boy and would come to Warrensburg as a kid to watch the trains.”
Penrose said he is donating the prints on behalf of his mother, Roberta Penrose, and his entire family.