The Holden City Council addressed several personnel issues at its regular January meeting.
Mayor Doyle Weeks said he would like to appoint Robin Watkins to the open Ward I Council seat.
“Watkins had filed to run in the April 2021 election and she has experience with the City through the Fire Department, as well as her husband being a former councilman,” said Mayor Weeks.
Councilman Ray Briscoe motioned to approve the appointment, seconded by Council Member Elizabeth Weeks. All voted in favor.
A resignation was received from Watkins from the Merit Board, due to her appointment to council.
The Mayor asked council to appoint Celeste Watkins and Jonnnie Thompson to the Merit Board. Council approved the appointments.
City Clerk Christy Brown administered the oath of office to Robin Watkins to fill the vacant council seat.
In other personnel business, Council Member Weeks reported that the Merit Board met and had recommended the hiring of Dalton Montgomery as a full-time patrol officer.
After a motion and a second, council voted to approve the employment of Montgomery.
In further appointments, Mayor Weeks stated he would like to appoint Rob Hough to the Board of Public Works (BPW).
Briscoe explained to council that he had spoken to Hough about various boards that had openings and given him an explanation of what each was responsible for.
After a motion and a second to approve the appointment, all voted in favor.
In a Parks & Recreation update, Chairman David Chastain was present and gave information on what has been completed at the city park.
Chastain reported that the park improvements are moving along well. “All trash barrels have been replaced and almost everything has recently been repainted,” according to Chastain.
He went on to say the railroad ties around the swingset area and the bridge for the walking trail were put back into place with the help of the Street Department.
“The new scoreboard has been installed and the electric box in the concession stand will be replaced,” Chastain reported. “After that, new security cameras will be installed.”
Chastain also told council that several events are being planned for the 2021 year and the sign at the park entrance will be used to advertise them.
He added that he will be looking into a swingset for smaller children that could be set up near the main part of the playground.
It was also reported that the restrooms have been winterized and are closed for the season. When they are open they are now locked every night to help combat vandalism. Locking the park gate every night is helping with vandalism also.
Chastain stated that a little more than half of the Parks & Rec budget was left unused during the last fiscal year, partly due to a lowered cost for mowing services.
Mayor Weeks and Councilman Briscoe both thanked Chastain and his wife Naomi for all the hard work they have put in at the park.
In new business, an application for a parade permit was presented from the Holden Area Chamber of Commerce for March 13, 2021.
It was reported that the parade route information would be released at a later time, due to the current MoDOT road construction.
Council voted to approve the parade permit.
In Fire Department news, Fire Chief Andrew Watkins gave council an update on department business.
Chief Watkins reported that two members of the department, Brian Martley and Ron Heinemann, had recently been promoted to lieutenant.
Also, in the near future, the department will be promoting a new captain, according to the Chief.
Mayor Weeks inquired as to how the new system for issuing burn permits was going. Chief Watkins said it had been going well. “After three days of issuing permits, 15 have been issued and the database has been sent to City Hall and the Police Department,” the Chief said.
Mayor Weeks also asked Chief Watkins what the call ratio for the previous year was. Chief Watkins reported that there had been 309 calls for service in 2020, up from 302 in 2019.
It was also pointed out that for the first four months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the department cut back on medical calls and also did not hold trainings, so it was likely the call count would have been higher.
Briscoe asked what the ratio was between medical calls and fire calls, Chief Watkins reported that usually about 90 percent of calls were medical.