By MAGGIE MENDERSKI
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
HANNIBAL, Mo. — Lifelong resident James Locke joined the Hannibal City Council as Ward 6 councilman after a brief forum during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Former Ward 6 councilman Richard Draper submitted a letter of resignation to the council before the Nov. 6 City Council meeting. The council placed an ad in search of a new member, and applications were accepted from Locke, David Klassen and Brian Powell. Each were given approximately five minutes to describe to the public and the council their interest in joining the council, their experience with budget and their plans for economic development at Tuesday’s meeting.
Locke cited his experience on the Bear Creek Sports Complex board. He hoped to attract businesses that would make his children and other residents’ children want to stay in town.
“You’re doing some fine things, and I want to be a part of that,” Locke said.
He also explained that he lacked an agenda for the position, but he merely wanted to help the council make sound decisions for the community.
The council unanimously appointed Locke to the position. The meeting adjourned, and Mayor Roy Hark gave Locke his oath of office. The meeting was called back to order with Locke sitting in the Ward 6 seat.
Locke will serve until the April election.
The council also approved a resolution for Big River Oil to manage the pigeon pest problem in Hannibal. At the Nov. 20 city council meeting, city manager Jeff LaGarce explained that the initiative involved the trapping and shooting of the pigeons. This project will cost $5,500.
Hannibal resident John Lyng addressed the council regarding the town’s compliance with the Missouri Sunshine Law. He urged the council to examine the reasons law allows closed meetings. He spoke specifically regarding the call for business proposals for the Murphy Motors building on North Main. He said he believed the council could benefit from public input in the matter.
City Attorney James Lemon disagreed with Lyng’s complaint. Lemon said closed sessions allow the city to receive better offers from businesses and that making proposals public would jeopardize the financial aspect of this project.
Lyng also encouraged the council to record the closed sessions and to ask for an opinion from Lemon. City Clerk Angel Vance said she’d spoken with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office and said the city is not required to record closed sessions.
The council also approved resolutions authorizing the demolition of five condemned properties.
Amer-Yenom LLC will demolish 1019 Pleasant for $3,980. Bricker Excavating will remove the properties at 801-803 Union for $9,000 and 105 Sierra for $4,000. Smashey and Sons will tear down the properties at 316-318 Bird for $10,000 and 1516 Guernsey for $6,000.
City stakeholders met with concerned merchants regarding the sidewalk project on Main Street. The project was not discussed at the council meeting, but councilman Mike Dobson said afterward the city is actively working with the architect regarding the direction of the project.
The council also:
• Agreed to co-sign a street abandonment application with property owner Randy Park.
• Heard a complaint from a resident regarding the amount of time allotted for submitting proposals for the Murphy Motors building.
• Approved seeking bids for the Hannibal Street Department’s 1990 Dodge pickup truck.