Council discusses many items at meeting

Mexico City Council met at 7 p.m.,  Monday for a regular session meeting to discuss the 2014 Comprehensive Plan of Mexico, hold four public hearings, pass one resolution and four ordinances.
Council member Steve Nichols was absent from the meeting.
Brian Hamilton, director of urban design and planning of Hoefer Wysocki, and Troy Nash, vice president of Newmark Grubb, were hiredby the City to design the Comprehensive Plan of Mexico.
The plan provides a vision and general framework for the physical development of the community. The plan furthers the aspirations established by the community and builds upon the distinctive assets and opportunities that Mexico provides.
Hamilton and Nash were present at a public meeting held at 5:30 p.m. at the Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce and reiterated the plan they outlined for the council. The draft is currently being finalized for adoption at a future meeting.
In the plan, Hamilton and Nash recommended that the City's public services work closely with the private sector within the community, market city-owned available land to new enterprises, further develop the Missouri Plant Science Center, further promote higher education within Mexico, mitigate street traffic through residential neighborhoods, beautify pedestrian walkways, and modernize the Village Square. They also advised that the City maintain its relationship with Audrain Medical Center. If the hospital were to expand, they advised doing so toward the Village Square.
Nash recommended a bend, but don't break policy when moving forward with the plan and to be mindful of how globalization plays a part in Mexico's economy. He advised the council to take the opinions of the citizens into consideration, but also note that strong leadership is necessary for a progressive community. "You have to take risks and you can't be afraid to fail," Nash said to the council. "Taking chances is the price we pay for progress."
Public opinion was gathered for the plan on the Envision Mexico website and the council members said they were pleased with a large public response.
A public hearing was held concerning the rezoning of property located at Fairground and Teal Lake Road from an R-1, single family dwellings, to an R-3B, office and professional zone.
Kirk and Nancy Ekern, co-trustees of the H. Peter Ekern Revocable Trust Agreement, requested the rezoning of property. The Arthur Center is in the process of acquiring this property to relocate its Hope Center, which began operating in 2009 in Fulton. Notices were sent to 16 surrounding property owners within 185 feet of the request and no objections were received.
Council member Chris Williams said additional infrastructure, such as lighting and sidewalks, would be necessary in the future, as the Hope Center residents begin to frequently traverse the street.
The city staff recommended the council proceed with the rezoning.
A public hearing was held concerning the zoning of property located at 3460 South Clark to a C-2, general commercial zone.
The request for the rezoning was made by David and Ethel Irvine of Irvine Capital Management LLC for their property, which they purchased for the development of a new Veteran's Association Medical Clinic. Construction is currently underway.
The zoning is in compliance with the City's Land Use Map. It was said to be necessary to promote economic development and diversify the local economy.
No objections to the rezoning were received after notices were sent to surrounding property owners.
The city staff recommended the council approve the rezoning.
A public hearing was held concerning rezoning of property located at 414 East Love from an R-3A, multiple family dwellings to an R-3B, office and professional zone.
The rezoning request was made by the American Benefits Administration, Inc. (ABA).
ABA is contracted with a professional employee leasing company in Oklahoma City, known as Corporate Resource, sharing a 15-year partnership.
No objections were received from surrounding property owners.
The city staff recommended the council approve the rezoning.
A public hearing was held concerning the establishment of the 2014 property tax rates. The property assessed real estate evaluation for the City of Mexico diminished from a total of $140,762,010 in 2013 to $136,226,973 for 2014. The devaluation caused City revenue at the current property tax rate to decrease, prompting a new rate. The proposed rate would amount to approximately .43 cents per $100 of assessed property value. At this rate, a person's property tax on a home worth $100,000 would increase approximately $2.72.
City Manager Bruce Slagle said the increase would allow the city to remain revenue neutral.
Mexico resident Thomas Fiedler addressed his concern with the tax increase.
A resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute a renewal sublease of business property with Home Depot U.S.A. Incorporated was unanimously approved by the council.
All ordinances concerning the rezonings and the tax rate establishment addressed in the prior public hearings were approved by the council. Williams abstained from the rezoning of Hope Center property, due to his wife's affiliation with the Arthur Center, but otherwise all of the approvals were unanimous.
In council comments, members congratulated Spartan on the recent groundbreaking ceremony and Administrative Service Director Roger Haynes, who recently received his 25th consecutive Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.
In public comments, Charles Fry solicited City support for a proposed Patriots Day ceremony, in which he suggested all city vehicles would be parked along the streets and at noon all of their sirens would be activated for 60 seconds, followed by 60 seconds of silence, in honor of veterans.
Fiedler made further comment on his concern for the property tax increase, saying Mexico residents may be concerned with the increase.
"My big concern with the taxes is that I get the revenue neutral thing," Fiedler said, "but it's not revenue neutral for people paying taxes. It's only revenue neutral for the city."
He also commented the City baseball fields were not adequately maintained during community softball league play.