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Sewer rate increase presented same day council considered suspending city manager

On the same day the city council considered suspending city manager Bruce Woody, city staff presented a proposal that would have increased sewer rates for customers against the wishes of the city council.

Posted: Jun 6, 2019 10:55 PM
Updated: Jun 6, 2019 10:56 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) -- Information from City Hall on Thursday could clarify why some city council members wanted to suspend city manager Bruce Woody.

On Monday during an executive closes session, the council voted 5-3 against suspending Woody for one week without pay. Any other information from that meeting is protected by rules related to the disciplining of personnel.

However, also on Monday, some council members appeared to be upset after being presented with next year's sewer rate proposal.

Instead of a scheduled public hearing on the new rates, the proposal was pulled without discussion. Staff said they would present a new proposal at a later date.

According to released information following a Sunshine Request, council member Brian Myers made the original motion to suspend the city manager.

"Our direction to city staff was a zero percentage rate increase across the board. What was put in front of us was a recommendation that we increase our wholesale and commercial rates which is not the direction we gave staff," Myers said.

Wholesale and commercial rates are used to compute sewer charges for large industry in St. Joseph. 

Council members Madison Davis and Brenda Blessing joined Myers on the losing end of the vote to suspend Woody. Voting against the motion was Mayor Bill McMurray, Russell Moore, Marty Novak, Spanky O'Dell and Gary Roach. Council member P.J. Kovac was absent.

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Monday we had mostly sunny skies for much of the day across northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri until the afternoon when we saw a few clouds move into the area. We will clear out late tonight into tomorrow morning then have lots of sunshine along with hot and humid conditions.
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