There’s a new chief in town.
Chris Finch, who has been with the Newburg police department since July 2011, was formally approved as the new chief of police in Newburg by the Newburg City Council Tuesday night. The council’s decision was unanimous.
Finch was assistant chief with the Newburg department and started work at the Phelps County Sheriff’s Department in August 2012. He will work full time at the sheriff’s department and part time with the Newburg police.
He said after the meeting that his goals for the police department are to clean up the town, keep drugs off of the streets and make sure things continue running smoothly.
“It’s a good community,” Finch said of Newburg.
Finch replaces former Newburg Police Chief Kimbly Elrod, who resigned about three weeks ago. Elrod served for about four years.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the council approved awarding a bid to Hartley's Climate Control, LLC, of St. James, for a commercial-rated 20kW electric heating system with a ceiling mount for a municipal building that houses fire trucks and other city vehicles. The bid approved totaled $2,400. The system comes with a five-year parts and one-year labor warranty.
Hartley’s also submitted an alternate bid of $2,025 for a light-commercial-rated electric heating system, but Councilman Randy Brinkley said the commercial-rated system is needed, not the light-commercial one.
Brinkley said he has talked with Hartley’s and said he believes the company is trustworthy.
The only other bid received was from Garner Refrigeration and Heating Inc., of Rolla, for a gas heating system for $3,765.99.
City Clerk Phyllis Harris said gas heat cannot be used since the building will house vehicles.
Harris said the bids received “are a lot cheaper than I thought it would be.”
It also was noted that insulation work on the building is scheduled to start Thursday. The council awarded the insulation project to Earl Burns Construction LLC, of Rolla, Oct. 30 on a bid of $8,947.
Also at Tuesday’s council meeting, Harris told council members that she has pictures and notes from the city’s building inspector for buildings in Newburg that have windows taped up with plywood that look as if they will fall or bricks that appear to be falling out of the base of another building.
Harris asked who should be responsible for writing letters to the building owners and letting them know of the problems that need to be addressed.
Councilman Bill Stines initially suggested that the inspector needs to write the letters, but council member Alyson Garvey said that while the inspector takes notes, it is up to city officials to decide if a citation should be issued.
Page 2 of 2 - Garvey said the letters may be less personal if they come from the city instead of the inspector.
Finch suggested taking a friendly approach and telling the building owners that the city wants to work with them. He recommended that both the inspector and mayor sign the letters. Stines then agreed with Finch’s idea.
It was decided that Harris will draft the letters and have the mayor and inspector sign them. No motion to send the letters will be made until they are drafted.
The council also was told that Thursday was the deadline for property owners of three burnt buildings in town to comply with city ordinances.
Harris said three letters were sent earlier to property owners but that a final notice was requested be sent to each of the building owners.
If the buildings are not in compliance with city ordinances, tickets will be issued starting Thursday.
“We still want to try to be a friendly town, but we need to enforce it,” Finch said.
The council also approved transferring about $7,800 in franchise phone tax receipts to the general fund.
Fire department report
During the fire report given at Tuesday’s meeting, it was noted that the Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office and Boone County Fire Protection District donated fire gear, eight large rolls of hoses, medical supplies and brush fire backpacks to the Newburg firefighters.
Chrissy Krider, communications officer with the fire department, also told the council that about $1,072.38 has been raised for the new floor in the municipal building where the fire trucks will be parked. However, she said that total may change.
Krider said it was estimated at the beginning of the fundraising effort that $6,000 would be needed, but Stines said he, his son and Brinkley would pour the concrete and that only funds for the concrete need to be raised.
Stines estimated that about four to six feet of concrete needs to be poured for the 40-foot-by-60-foot building and that amount of concrete would cost about $4,500, but that amount does not include rebar. He also said somebody else will need to grade the concrete floor.
Krider also noted there is an ongoing raffle fundraiser with the fire department’s auxiliary.Tickets are $1 each or six for $5 and people can win a $100 Walmart gift card. To take part in the raffle, contact Councilwoman Doreen Moore or any of the firefighters.
Additionally, Mayor James Poucher said the city received an application for a new firefighter. After a background check is done, the council is expected to take action on the application at its next meeting.