A Small Victory for West Plains Businesses
Wed, 07/01/2020 - 10:14am admin
City Council Votes to Waive Business License Fees in 2020
Thom Hoglen, contributing writer
The June 21 West Plains City Council meeting’s regular session began with concerns heard from two residents. Both residents’ concerns stem from the city’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Owner of The Battery Station, Kevin Falkner, approached the podium with two items in hand. As he held up a roll of toilet paper and a framed copy of the United States Constitution, he stated to the council, “These things are not interchangeable.”
Falkner went on to say that the municipal shutdown ordered at the beginning of the pandemic was unconstitutional. He said businesses in West Plains should be able to return to normal life and pointed out that provisions of the COVID-related mandate within the city have not been enforced. They cannot be enforced because they are unconstitutional, according to the business owner.
Falkner says the actions of the City in regard to the shutdown of businesses that were deemed non-essential were a poor decision, The City “threw businesses under the bus,” Falkner asserted.
He asked that the council waive the $30 business license fee next year, as an act of goodwill. The Council put the issue to a vote, and passed the measure to waive business license fees by a vote of 3-2, with Councilman Josh Cotter and Mayor Jack Pahlmann dissenting. Businesses will still have to file for a business license, but the fee will be waived. Any business that has already paid for a business license will have that payment put toward their business license fee covered for 2021.
West Plains resident, Mike Burgess, came before the council to ask why the West Plains Aquatic Center has remained closed, while the pools at the West Plains Civic Center and West Plains Country Club are opened.
“I come to you on behalf of the children,” Burgess told the council, saying that it is important for the Aquatic Center to be available for children. The city pool was also closed last year for repairs. Those repairs have been completed, and the pool is being filled and tested. The council moved on from these comments without action.
The West Plains City Council approved the annexation of an area near the end of Bill Virdon Boulevard and South Highway 63 into the city limits. The annexation, as explained by building official Dustin Harrison, cleans up the city’s boundary in the area and clarifies the jurisdiction. The city will not be taking over maintenance of the road in the area.
A lease agreement between the West Plains Civic Center and Missouri State University-West Plains was approved. The agreement allows MSU-West Plains to use the facility for certain school functions. The lease amount was kept at the same price as 2019, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The council agreed to a design and services agreement for a new splash pad and all-inclusive playground at Butler Children’s Park by All-Inclusive Rec. The splash pad will be constructed at the site where the Butler House once stood, at the center of the park.
The council also approved several bids for equipment and services, including electric meters and water meters for inventory, equipment and repairs at the waste water treatment plant, street sealant and surfacing, dumpsters, inspection and cleaning of water towers and clearwells, and new sewer system equipment.
The West Plains City Council moved their July meeting from July 20 to July 13, due to a schedule conflict.