HANNIBAL, Mo. -- There's a new chief at the Hannibal Fire Department this week.
Current Chief Sean Hampton, who has been in the position since 2015, is retiring. The Hannibal City Council approved at its meeting Tuesday Deputy Chief Mike Benjamin as the new department head, and Mayor James Hark swore Benjamin into the position. In Benjamin's 29 years with the fire department, he also has served as an assistant chief, captain, engineer and firefighter.
City Manager Jeff LaGarce is the one who made the appointment.
"Mike is extremely knowledgeable, dependable and customer service oriented," he told the council. "He is well-respected by employees and peers and will be an excellent leader for the department."
LaGarce added that he has enjoyed working with Hampton.
"He has done a wonderful job and has been a good chief," LaGarce said.
Also on Tuesday, the council approved the low bid of $1.475 million from Bleigh Construction to build the new Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau facility at 925 Grand Ave.
The HCVB plans to use $350,000 from its reserve account an the initial down payment and money from the sale of the current HCVB building at 505 N. Third St. to help pay for the project. It will finance the rest of the construction through bonds. Tourism Director Gail Bryant said donations for naming rights on benches, the building's paddlewheel feature and a conference room will be accepted.
Construction is set to be completed in late-summer 2019. The council also approved paying Architechnics up to $24,500 for construction administration services.
º The council approved a special warranty deed to convey the dilapidated 505 Walnut St. to Joe Anderson for $1.
"(He) will either demolish it and create a garden or rehab the site," LaGarce said. "Neither of those choices involve the city spending any money for demolition, and the problem will be taken care of."
º The council took no action regarding the rezoning of 3520 St. Mary's Ave. from A-One and Two Family to C-Local. Wesley and Rhonda Knapp submitted the rezoning application because they want to put a retail/restaurant business at the location.
º The council gave a final reading to an ordinance that will set and adopt the rate of taxation for 2018. In short, there is no tax rate change from 2017. It will remain at $1.2055 for every $100 of assessed value.