Boonville City Council acts on city attorney request for supplemental funding

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News

The Boonville City Council in December changed how the city attorney is compensated. Additional money has been requested by the city's attorney Brad Wooldridge. 

The city attorney is an elected position and so the city council sets the compensation rate. The council decided to set the annual income at $40,000 at Monday's meeting. Wooldridge's previous salaray was $22,500. The new salary goes into effect January 1

The ordinance rewrite was done for two reasons, City Manager Kate Fjell said. The first was that the change is easier to budget and that city attorney compensation had not been discussed by the council for a few years. The new pay rate does not include  additional compensation, but does include a bi-annual compensation review tied to the election cycle.  

The $40,000 rate reflects roughly 15 hours per month, or 180 hours per year of work. Wooldridge has made the additional funding requests because of his work prosecuting criminal speeding tickets ended up exceeding that 180-hour threshold. 

“By setting the salary at $40,000 a year, we knew that it was more than 15 hours a month, or 180 hours a year,” Fjell said. “This salary just gets it more fair."

The council still could decide on additional compensation for Wooldridge. 

"I think this is the second year that Brad has come to the council asking for more money because he’s expecting in excess of 180 hours," Fjell said. "This is short-lived now because we rewrote the ordinance in December.”

Economic development updates

Water easements being sought by the Boonslick Community Development Corp. are ongoing. The board has two verbal commitments with details being finalized, Director Gigi McAreavy said. The city has received a contract on a third easement. 

A selection for a creator of a community calendar likely will happen in May. Funds were requested from the U.S. Economic Development Administration through Mid-Missouri Regional Planning Center for the community and cap calender creation, which includes an annual maintenance fee. 

Boonslick also is preparing to look at the community laborforce through a study. It received a $25,000 grant from the Economic Development Administration to conduct the study. 

"We were awarded the funding for a new labor based study, because the other standard study was stopped short due to COVID," McAreavy said. 

A concern for those in the labor market is the housing market. At the last review, only 13 houses are on the market, McAreavy said. Housing is a hot topic with corporate interest. 

“Active listings have decreased (in) Central Board of Realtors data since 2014,” McAreavy said. “Sales after that year increased with listings continuing to decrease."

There will need to be some housing investment to draw in more large-scale employers. 

Boonslick is trying to find a way to maintain the Project D-barracks. There are two potential options. Boonslick YMCA cannot expand into the barracks and its multipurpose gym because of state childcare regulations, McAreavy said. Other uses for the gym and barracks are being explored. 

McAreavy recently took part in a webinar about rural corporation sites and their expansion in small communities. Rural areas are finding ways to rebuild their small communities, she said. 

Some communities invested in mutual funds that then were invested back into their communities. Another river community found grants to create a riverwalk and ways to utilize views of its river.

"It really has brought a lot of people in for it so a lot of different things going on," McAreavy said. 

McAreavy continues to collect data on visitors to the Missouri Soccer Park and work is being done with the owners of the former Nordyne building to bring in investors, developers and entrepreneurs. 

In other business

The Boonville City Council will hold work session 6:30 p.m. Jan. 18, 6 p.m. Feb. 1, 6 p.m. Feb. 16 and 6:30 p.m. March 1. Candidate filing for the April 6 election closes Jan. 19 at 5 p.m. Declaration of candidacy and a $25 filing fee are filed with the city clerk at 401 Main St. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.