BY CARISSA SITKI
During the St. Elmo City Board meeting held at the American Legion on Jan. 6, 2021 at 6 p.m. Danielle Fontaine was appointed to fill the vacancy for Alderman Ward II. The vacancy was left by Jordan Mahon, when she resigned last August due to her moving out of the district. Fontaine will complete the remainder of the term, which is up May 1 of this year. She is running for the office of Alderman Ward II and is currently unopposed.
Present at the meeting, was St. Elmo resident, Stacy Steele, who came to address the Board with concerns of a “growing rabbit population” in the city.
“I don’t know if this is a sore subject… but the rabbits,” said Steele who lives on the corner of Elm and 8th Street, “It was one thing when they pretty much stayed on the East side of town, but now they’ve migrated past Elm Street.”
Steele went on to explain that the rabbits have been an expensive nuisance. According to her, she pays to have her yard treated six times per year, which is $270 per treatment. Additionally, Steele said she’s had over a thousand dollars worth of landscaping “annihilated” by the rabbits. She estimates that the rabbits have killed nearly a quarter of her yard.
Steele went on to ask the Board if they had a plan in place to deal with the “overbreeding rabbits” in the City of St. Elmo.
Mayor Ernie Myers responded to Steele’s question saying, “We don’t have a plan, but the cats take care of a lot of that. We’ve never devised a plan to do anything about it.”
It was one thing, when there was one, or two, even up to 10,” Steele said, “but rabbits do what they do, they breed. There have been times when I’ve had 20 in my yard.”
Myers said that the Board will discuss the rabbit issue and see if they can come up with a solution for Steele. “We will try to think of something to see of we can do something with them, or about them,” Myers stated.
Chairman Rick Mills added, “We’ve talked a little bit about the rabbits, but we haven’t talked about getting rid of them.”
“I don’t want to be cruel to animals,” Steele said, “but it’s cost me a lot of money.”
The discussion concluded with Mayor Myers saying that the City will try to find the best way to address the rabbit issue, “Maybe someone will be able to come up with a solution.”
Chairman Bob Wells mentioned a rabbit repellent, but was unsure of what it is called. He told Steele, as she was leaving the meeting, that he would try to find out what the repellent is.
In other business, the Board approved a bid of up-to $465,720.50 from Visu-Sewer of Missouri, LLC for the sewer lining project. Mayor Myers presented this bid and the total includes the initial bid of $351,887.50 the city received and two add-ons. Add-on A. is $51,872.75 and covers 366 ft. of sewer line and add-on B. is $61,960.25 and covers 953 ft. of sewer line. There will also be an additional $20,000 in engineering fees.
There is the possibility that the engineers may not need to use two of the extraction points, if not, the city will get $124.250 credit for those. One extraction point would cost $88,500 and the other could cost $35,750. An extraction point, according to Mayor Myers, is used when lines are so bad that they cannot be wrapped on the inside and must be dug out and have concrete work done before they can be wrapped.
Mayor Myers said that this bid includes the lining of around 3,000 ft. of sewer lines and 20 manholes. One of the manholes that is included in the bid is located on Locust Street and is 22 ft. deep. According to Mayor Myers, everything in town passes through that section, so it’s important that it be included in the project.
After this part is done, Mayor Myers says that the sewer project will be around one-third of the way to completion.
Wells asked, “Are we doing the worst stuff first?” To which, Mayor Myers replied, “Yes. We are trying to do the worst places first.”
Also at the meeting, the Board approved a bid from S & K concrete in the amount of $9,355 for the replacement for the sidewalk on Main Street in front of Rural Med. EMS. According to Chairman Sandra Mace, the bid includes labor, materials, removing the old walk, and placing the new sidewalk. There will be 86ft. of new sidewalk that will taper up to act as a handicap accessible ramp for Rural Med. that will come out about 5 ft. from the building.
The project will be paid for put of the TIF one account.
As a result of Executive Session, Dylan Brooks and Isaac Smith were hired as full-time police officers. Both will have a three-year contract and be compensated at $16 per hour.
This year is Fayette County’s bicentennial and there will be a meeting at 6 p.m. on Jan. 20, 2021, at the Fayette County Museum in Vandalia, for anyone interested in helping.
The next St. Elmo City Board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 3, 2021, at 6 p.m.
1: Danielle Fontaine raises her right hand and swears in as she is appointed to the vacancy for Alderman Ward II during the St. Elmo’s January City Board Meeting.
2: Several bunnies congregate on the north side of St. Elmo. According to resident, Stacy Steele, the critters’ growing population is a nuisance.