The Boonville City Council on Monday voted 6-1 to appoint Kate Fjell as the next city administrator after current administrator Irl Tessendorf retires.
The council’s vote will temporarily lift a rule requiring the city administrator to live within Boonville city limits. Fjell has worked for the city for 12 years, and as assistant city administrator for nine years. She and her family recently moved into Cooper County, just outside Boonville city limits.
Third Ward Councilman Brent Bozarth was the only vote against the proposal. Fourth Ward Councilman Morris Carter wasn’t present to vote on Monday. The council did not discuss the proposal other than to vote.
Before Mayor Ned Beach made it clear that the city wanted to promote Fjell when Tessendorf retires in the near future, the council set aside a plan to remove the residency requirement. Two Boonville residents criticized that plan at a council meeting in May, arguing an administrator who doesn’t live in the city may not be as committed.
Fjell still works and shops in Boonville, and her children go to Boonville schools, so she says she’s still just as committed to the city as she was when she lived within city limits. Temporarily lifting the requirements for Fjell was a compromise plan that allows Fjell to serve as city administrator, but doesn’t open the door to out-of-town administrators in the future.
During Monday’s meeting, Beach presented a plaque in memory of Richard Casanova, 75, who died in June.
Along with working for 30 years as a rural mail carrier, Casanova was for decades active in civic groups and city government. He served as president of the Boonville Jaycees, as Second Ward city councilman and served on the Boonville Planning and Zoning Commission for 45 years.
“We are forever grateful for your wisdom and guidance,” Beach read from the plaque.
Academic Hall bid falls through
A large tear on the flat roof of Academic Hall on the Kemper Campus is causing leaks into the building, and the city is looking to replace the roof entirely.
Two contractors submitted bids for the project. Boonville contractor Caldwell Roofing had the lower bid at $28,914.38, which Fjell recommended over three higher bids that ranged from $33,000 to $40,000.
Caldwell Roofing had to retract its bid, because it has too many projects to perform an additional roof replacement, Fjell said. Beach and Third Ward Councilman Whitney Venable asked if it was possible to hold off on the project until Caldwell could do it, but city building inspector Steve Hage said the repairs are urgent.
“Right now, it’s gonna continue to rain just as hard inside as it is outside,” Hage said.
The council voted 7-0 to accept the lowest available bid of $33,648 from Tipton-based G&R Construction.
The city has already slotted $4 million to renovate and expand Academic Hall for the Boonslick Heartland YMCA to use as part of $6 million rehabilitation of the Kemper Campus to be funded by a special sales tax Boonville voters approved in August. The roof replacement is separate from that sales tax, which the city won’t start collecting until January.
Problems with the roof began about three weeks ago, so it wasn’t included as one of the projects funded by the new sales tax when that was being pitched, Fjell said. The city initially hoped to simply patch the roof, but several contractors told them it needed to be replaced, she said.