City job additions proposed for use tax work

Mar. 19—The City Council on Monday will be asked to authorize the addition of new positions to the city's salary plan for jobs that would be funded with use tax revenue.

Those hired would have duties related to action plans that are tied to achieving the council's six goals for community improvements, according to city documents.

Under the proposal, seven jobs would be added to the city's planning department as recommended by a recent operations study. The positions would be those for a neighborhood improvement supervisor, two neighborhood improvement officers, an administrative assistant, a project coordinator, a lead building inspector and a building inspector.

Those who fill the positions will work on 10 action plans under the goals to address declining neighborhoods, improve community appearance, increase economic development and homelessness.

Tony Robyn, assistant city manager, said the program involving the new positions would include home repair, code enforcement and addressing vacant buildings, and other tasks to clean up neighborhoods and housing.

Troy Bolander, director of the planning and development department, said the city also plans to operate programs to improve neighborhoods that include providing incentives to developers to replace dilapidated houses and enforcement of the city's sign code because of the number of paper and cardboard signs littering streets and rights of way.

The funding source for the jobs along with operational and capital costs would be the portion of the use tax that goes to the city's general fund. The budget would be amended by $510,132 to pay for the jobs and costs for the rest of the city's fiscal year, which ends Oct. 31.

Four positions are proposed for the Joplin Police Department for work on three action plans. Those positions are police sergeant, corporal, bailiff and administrative assistant. They would work on duties related to the goal of crime reduction and increasing safety. The cost, at $351,052, would be paid by use tax revenue that goes to the public safety sales tax fund.

A reorganization of the parks department to eliminate a recreation manager position and replace that job with a recreation coordinator also is proposed. The pay for the coordinator would be less than that of a manager, and there would be a savings of $13,000 as a result.

Also proposed is the addition of three positions for a communications department that would do marketing work to increase economic development.

Those jobs would be a communications director, webmaster to update and improve the functions of the city's website, and a multimedia communications specialist. The jobs would be added to the salary plan but not filled because the actual costs of the wages and operations are yet to be determined.

The city's personnel board recently voted to endorse the creation of all the jobs, although the staff report states that more information must be developed about the job duties.

Council members expressed a consensus of support for the positions after the Jan. 9 staff presentation.

In other business, the council will consider a work authorization agreement between the city and McClanahan Construction in the amount of $2.254 million for construction a new equipment building and some related repairs for the Turkey Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. City documents state that a request for bids was advertised, and McClanahan was the sole bidder.

The city's legal department proposes changes to the city's code regarding the use of marijuana as the result of voter legalization of recreational marijuana, which went into effect Dec. 8.

That change allows people age 21 and older to possess up to 3 ounces of unprocessed marijuana or its equivalent. It sets fines for smoking marijuana in unauthorized public places at $100 and caps other offenses at $250 for a first offense.

It also prohibits operating a motor vehicle, aircraft or motorboat while under the influence of marijuana. Similarly, individuals may not smoke marijuana within a motor vehicle, train, aircraft, motorboat or other motorized form of transport while it is being operated.

There will be the final reading of a bill that would vacate Bird Avenue in front of Junge Stadium as requested by the Joplin School District. The council was told at its last session that the district has erected gates at both ends of the street that runs in front of the stadium to close it off during games and other events to increase pedestrian safety. That is the purpose for the request to vacate the street, a school official told the council.

The council also be asked to:

—Approve a contract for approximately $1.54 million for this year's mill and overlay of some of the city's streets.

—Authorize demolitions of dilapidated properties at 218 N. Wall Ave. at a cost of $4,950, 1417 W. 20th St. for $4,875, and 1818 S. Pearl Ave. for $4,575, all by USA Demolition.

—Vote to hold a closed session after the regular meeting to discuss real estate.