During the regular Mexico City Council meeting Monday night, the council voted to approved the 2017-2018 operating and capital budget by 3-2 with council members Chris Williams and Dr. Ayanna Shivers voting no. Shivers said she was concerned about cutting the hours of a full-time employee at the Mexico Animal Shelter. At the Sept. 11 meeting Williams stated he would not support the budget.

Once the budget was passed Shivers made a motion for the city manager to look into having the full-time position returned with benefits at the shelter. The motion passed 5-0.

During the council comments, council member Ron Loesch said he was not sure he would support any changes to the budget and the changes should not have been brought up at the last minute.

After the budget was passed, a public hearing was held to consider a change to sanitary sewer use charge rates. The hearing was to discuss a rate increase proposal of approximately three percent as follows: current per 1,00 gallons, user charge portion $1.19, capital charge portion, $4.96; and base rate/month $8.83; proposed per 1,000 gallons, user charge portion, $1.22, capital charge portion $5.12; and base rate/month, $9.09. Roger Haynes, deputy city manager, gave the following example, the monthly sewer fee based on usage of 5,000 gallons per month is $39.58 at the current rate and with the proposed rate it will be $40.79.

During the regular meeting the council voted 5-0 voted to pass the sewer charge rate increase.

In other business, council passed a resolution to authorize City Manager Bruce Slagle to enter an agreement with Missouri Life for requested funding from the Mexico Tourism Tax. Council also passed a resolution to enter into a contract with Heggemann Inc. for installation of aeration blowers at the Wastewater Treatment facility. Three bids were submitted with Heggemann submitting the low bid at $110,754. One bid did not meet the specs for the project.

The bid is under the engineer's estimate of $148,000 and within the 2016-2017 budget of $250,000 for the project.

Roger Haynes presented information on new playground equipment at Lakeview Park. In May of this year, Parks and Recreation Department submitted a grant application to receive "Show Me Health Community Matching funds' for the purchase of play equipment to construct an inclusive playground using best practices currently available. The funding initiative is a partnership between the Missouri Parks and Recreation Association and GameTime, a PlayCore Company. To be eligible to receive these competitively awarded funds the staff attended professional training sessions in playground design.

Twelve cities in Missouri, including the city of Mexico, have been awarded funds. The matching funds allows the Parks and Recreation Department to use $80,000 of its capital funds in the 2016-2017 budget to purchase play equipment with a total of $159,694. The equipment would be purchased from Cunningham Recreation of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Haynes said the play equipment will include a play trail and be inclusive. The facility will allow children and parents or grandparents who have limitations to play alongside those who do not, while providing high value for everyone. Council approved the purchase of the playground 5-0.

After the adjournment of the meeting, council met in executive session.