Springfield City Council to vote on a variety of bills Monday night

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 4:11 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2023 at 7:29 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Springfield City Council is set to vote on a variety of bills Monday night that could affect locals across the city.

UPDATE: City Council voted to approve both the ADA improvements and the City Utilities electric rates.

One of those bills includes potentially accepting a bid to complete ADA improvements on three corridors in the city: Sunshine Street, National Avenue, and Battlefield Road.

Assistant Director of Public Works Martin Gugel, says these ADA improvements are required since they used federal funds to resurface the corridor.

“Most of the improvements will be at the intersections, the signalized intersections where you’ve got maybe the curb ramps aren’t up to the current standard, or maybe there aren’t any curb ramps, we’ll be adding in making improvements to the signal system as far as going in for pedestrian push buttons and audible indications for pedestrians when the light has turned to walk for them to be able to cross the street,” said Gugel.

The project has seen some controversy. It’s costing nearly $200,000 more than originally estimated. The bid Public Works is bringing to the council is just over $600,000.

The Public Works Department says this higher bid is due to increased costs of material and labor.

Gugel says getting these improvements done, however, is crucial.

“One of the main challenges for individuals with disabilities is how to navigate the sidewalk system. And so part of being walkable means putting things in place that allow them to be able to fully utilize our sidewalk system as well,” said Gugel.

Another bill the council will be considering is an increase in electric rates in the city.

That increase, if approved, would start in April of next year.

Joel Alexander, Media Relations Manager for City Utilities, says that the increased cost is due to inflationary costs.

“It’s basically just to cover the cost of inflationary items that we, too, like anyone else, have been dealing with. And we’re asking council to look at this and hopefully approve this, just so we can provide the reliability of our electric system that our customers are used to,” said Alexander.

Some of those inflationary costs include the cost of transformers, utility poles, and conductors.

The cost, on average, would raise bills about $5 a month per year, leading to a total raise of $15 a month over the next three years.

Alexander says that they’ve delayed an increase as long as possible and that this cost increase is a necessity.

“We’re doing everything we can as a utility to reduce our costs, but there does come a time when we have to look at it realistically and say we need to go to our customers and ask for this. Even with this rate increase, and right now, we’re the lowest electric utility in the state,” said Alexander.

To read the full city council agenda, you can click here.

Monday’s city council meeting was also the last one in Historic City Hall until planned renovations are complete.

For now, the upcoming city council meetings will be held at the Springfield Police and Fire South Station at 2620 E. Battlefield Road. The next City Council meeting will be on October 2.

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