The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

March 12, 2014

Carthage Council to urge veto of just-approved cell tower bill

CARTHAGE, Mo. — The Carthage City Council on Tuesday voted to ask Gov. Jay Nixon to veto a bill passed last week that would take away cities’ ability to regulate the location of cellular towers.

Cities in the state lobbied against the measure when it was before the General Assembly, and they now are seeking action from the governor. Officials contend that the measure would allow a cellphone provider to replace or upgrade equipment used to supply wireless services on or in existing structures with no local government zoning review or public hearing. They say it would allow wireless equipment to be added without any oversight, and that it does not allow cities to mandate screening or landscaping to modify the appearance of the towers.

Tom Short, Carthage city administrator, said lawmakers passed similar measures in a single bill last year. Cities opposed it, and it was ruled unconstitutional because too many subjects were addressed in the measure.

“This year, they broke it up into five or six bills, but we don’t think there is any improvement,” he said Wednesday. “If a resident had a problem with one of those additions, they wouldn’t be able to get it addressed locally.”

The council voted unanimously to call for the gubernatorial veto.

The council also approved a motion to delay actions concerning the purchase of a new fountain for Kellogg Lake Park.

Steve Liebbrand, chairman of the council’s public services committee, said the panel had opened three bids on a new fountain, with purchase prices ranging from nearly $11,000 to more than $22,000. He said committee members had endorsed the lowest bid, but noted that the device is being offered by a Canadian bidder and does not include the lighting system that was specified.

He offered the motion to delay action on the purchase until the March 25 meeting, to give Alan Bull, parks director, more time to check on the fountain and other places it has been used. The council also agreed to delay action accepting a donation from the Kellogg Lake Advisory Board toward the fountain purchase.

The council also:

• Heard an update on operations of Mercy McCune-Brooks Hospital from Bob Copeland, hospital executive, including planning for construction of a medical office building.

• Approved a motion allowing the Carthage Convention and Visitors Bureau to use City Hall for Carthage ArtWalk activities.

• Authorized an agreement with the Carthage School District to allow renovations to the third base dugout at Rock Park, which is used for Carthage Tiger baseball games.

• Advanced an ordinance to authorize an agreement with Blevins Asphalt for the city’s annual street paving program.

• Authorized an agreement with the Carthage Adult Softball League for management of adult softball programs at Hallam Field.

July 4

AN AGREEMENT FOR FIREWORKS for the city’s Fourth of July celebration got preliminary approval Tuesday from the Carthage council. The council advanced on first reading an ordinance that would authorize a contract with A.M. Pyrotechnics, at a cost of $11,696, for the fireworks display.

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