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New mayor, council faced light agenda

Justin Addison, Editor/Publisher
Posted 4/17/24

The City of Fayette swore in a new mayor and returning alderwomen last week. Greg Stidham took the oath of office for the city’s top job at the most recent meeting of the Board of Aldermen on …

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New mayor, council faced light agenda


The City of Fayette swore in a new mayor and returning alderwomen last week. Greg Stidham took the oath of office for the city’s top job at the most recent meeting of the Board of Aldermen on Tuesday, April 9.

Stidham previously served as an Alderman on the city council from 2014 to 2018. He won a four-way race for mayor in 2018 and served one term until May 2020.

The city presented a certificate of appreciation to outgoing mayor Jeremy Dawson, who did not seek a second term.

Also sworn in were returning alderwomen Michelle Ishmael (Northwest Ward) and Ronda Gerlt (East Ward). Ishmael was then elected Mayor Pro Tem in a 3-2 vote by the council.

However, one newly elected alderwoman was not sworn in. LeeAnna Shiflett won the Southwest Ward seat held by Bekki Galloway during the April 2 election. But she will have to wait to be sworn in until the council’s next meeting on April 23. This is because of complications with her job as Executive Director for the Fayette Housing Authority.

In a statement published in the February 21, 2024, Fayette Advertiser, Shiflett admitted her election to the council could be seen as a conflict of interest with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development since council members vote on board members of the Fayette Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.

In her statement, Shiflett vowed to “recuse myself from such votes and anything else that has to do with the Fayette Housing Authority.”

In the meantime, Galloway, who did not seek a new term, remains in the seat until Shiflett is sworn in. Galloway was expected to be appointed to the tree board after leaving the council. That is likely to take place at the next meeting.

In a moment of jest, Galloway handed Shiflett a tiki torch to symbolically “pass the torch” before the start of the April 9 meeting.

In regular business, Assistant to the Mayor Mike Dimond reported to the council he will leave his position with the city at the end of the month. He and his wife, Janell, are both retiring and moving back to the Lake of the Ozarks. His last day in the office will be April 26, and his final day with the city will be May 3.

Council members granted unanimous approval of several agenda items. The first is to once again hire J&M Displays of Slater, Mo., to present the annual Independence Day fireworks display at the city park. The cost, which is usually covered by donations to the city, will remain the same as last year at $4,200.

The city will enter a franchise agreement with Howard County Water District No. 1 for a new development planned for the southern part of town. The land, owned by Gene and Li Lee Gerlt, was recently annexed. The Gerlts plan to develop the land as a small subdivision. Like a similar deal struck with Howard Electric Cooperative, the water district will pay the city an annual 7% fee for the right to sell water to the new development. 

Members also approved an amendment to the city’s contract with the Howard County Regional Water Commission. The amendment changes the minimum water usage amounts for the City of New Franklin and the Howard County Water District No. 1. Fayette’s minimum of more than 94 million gallons annually will not be changed.

Fayette is one of three voting members on the water commission.

The council also approved an annual payment of $995 for a maintenance agreement with ecode360, a company that provides the city’s online code portal specifically designed to house codified laws and municipal information. Additional options regarding annual certification of ordinances and an annual trackback agreement cost more and will be considered during future budget discussions.

During board member comments, alderwomen briefly discussed the recent town hall meeting regarding possible parking changes to downtown. Northwest Ward Alderwoman Peggy O’Connell asked if the center line of Church Street (Highway 240) could be moved slightly to the east on the one block where it passes the square to avoid putting parallel parking in front of Eagle Plaza.

Mayor Stidham enquired as to a possible extension of trash service with RTS Waste Services, LLC. The company has been responsible for trash collection in Fayette for the past three years, which this newspaper considers a subpar performance. RTS is asking to extend the current contract for three years with no change in cost.

The company began waste pickup on June 1, 2021, and has since received numerous complaints about trash cans being left in roadways and driveways, as well as rude behavior. The current contract expires on June 1 of this year.

“They want to lock in for three years at the current price,” Dimond told the council. 

City Attorney Nathan Nickolaus is reviewing the contract before bringing it before the council for approval. 

“You probably need to put in some new conditions,” Nickolaus told the council. “There seem to be a lot of complaints.”

The Board of Aldermen meets regularly at 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month in City Hall. Meetings are open, agendas are published in advance, and the public is invited.


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