Upon receiving its CARES Act monies for the purpose of upgrading its technology that would enhance online broadcast streaming of events taking place at Moberly City Hall, the city council on Monday chose to delay its installation within the chamber floor.
That’s because during a Jan. 4 work session that followed a public business meeting, the council is considering to take a proactive cost approach plan that involves renovating the facility first while providing extra public safety measures in its design.
“If you look at the recent 10 years of tragic reports where shootings have taken place in public gatherings and meetings, the concern for public safety has grown. This has caused public entities like ourselves looking for the need to better secure places like our city council chamber where public meetings are held,” Moberly City Manager Brian Crane said. “We have been looking at various means about the direction we need to take in providing safety measures. We have a need to take what is now an open room and renovate it so that we can better control it.”
While there are minor differences in the three remodeling draft options presented to the council, there are three main common provisions.
– A bullet resistant glass wall and doorway entrance to the chamber floor would be installed between the two brick wall support structures located west of the council chamber floor.
– The new wall addition that would enclose the floor area on both the north and south side would be bullet resistant as well as the east wall located behind where council members are seated.
– A portable ADA approved ramp would be used to assist persons in need of accessing the raised platform where city council member sit.
“We thought the timing of us receiving the funds to upgrade technology and install it coincides with another goal of ours to implement additional safety measures at some point, that this would be the right time for us to renovate the chamber area as we install the technology upgrades,” Carne added. “This way we would not waste the effort it took to install by taking it all apart and down at a later time when it comes to renovating and then go about re-installing everything again.”
Guideline measures to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic that includes the limit of in-person attendance and social distancing during public gatherings has caused administrators to provide online broadcast coverage of its meetings and other pertinent events for greater public access.
“The acoustics within this room to video broadcast our meetings and events is poor and it’s difficult to control noise because there is a walkaway surrounding this open council chamber that allows people to freely move about. It’s worse when an event is held here in the daytime when people come in and out constantly and need access to one of the city’s offices to conduct business,” Crane said. “We have been aware of this problem and constantly receive complaints from people watching our meeting online saying they have trouble hearing what is being said by others at our meetings.”
Monies for the renovation project will come from the city’s general revenue fund.
As part of the CARES Act funding, the city applied for renovations to the council chambers. Technology equipment for upgrades have been received, but if the city would like to take advantage of some room remodeling renovations, this work would need to be performed prior to the installation of the tech equipment.
Estimated renovation costs could lead up to $40,000, depending on the scope of the plans to be presented by L&J Development Co. at the Jan. 19 council meeting.
Bids were received during the Monday work session to replace 140 feet of an existing sewer line in the Homestead subdivision located between Heritage Place and Overland Lane. The city is considering bids of $42,500 from Willis Bros. and one totaling $19,840 from R&L Boone Construction. Moberly Director of City Utilities Mary West-Calcagno told the council she will study the two bid proposals to better learn the scope of work each company is proposing to execute. A council decision is expected to be made at the Jan. 19 business meeting.
The city also is reviewing bids for sewer extension request along Highway 24 West near the Sugar Creek Veterinary Clinic. Willis Bros. submitted a $79,620 bid, and R&L Boone Construction’s bid was $96,610.