Mexico City Council entered into multiple yearly financial agreements to support local arts and education programs at its meeting Tuesday. It also entered into construction agreements for park shelter concrete slabs and a request from the Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce for tourism-related funds.

The Parks and Recreation Department budgeted up to $119,300 for the replacement of Lakeview and Lawrence Shelter floor slabs, along with the Lawrence Shelter drainage system.

Council approved the lowest bid of $51,070 from Rhad Baker Construction LLC of Fulton, which includes Lakeview slab project at $16,835 and the Lawrence slab and drainage project at $34,235.

Council member Steve Nichols wondered why the bid from Baker came in approximately $30,000 and $40,000 cheaper than the other bids.

"I don't know for sure, but I do know that Rhad Baker already is in town doing some other work, so he's already been mobilized here, so we're not paying any kind of mobilization fee on this, I'm sure," Shoemaker said.

Changes to Mexico’s agreement with Audrain County Collector Kate Becker to collect for the city motor vehicle license fees, and city personal and real estate property taxes, were presented by Mexico Assistant City Manager Roger Haynes. The agreement does not add any additional cost to taxpayers, he said. The county charges Mexico a 3 percent fee on current and same-year delinquent tax payments and a $4,000 annual payment to compensate for collection, property documentation and distribution of funds for city taxes and motor vehicle license fees.

The 3 percent fee on back taxes will drop to 2.5 percent in the 2019 agreement, Haynes said. The agreement with the county is void if the city were to enter a property assessment clean energy (PACE) program or similar program falling under the property assessment clean energy act.

“[PACE] is a very onerous program for [the county] to manage,” Haynes said.

Haynes and Becker discussed whether the city could collect taxes on properties with clean energy equipment such as solar panels, so long as city employees attend a PACE training program. However state statute doesn't allow the city to do PACE tax collection, he said. The program also includes reporting requirements, since any clean energy updates to a property are considered a loan against the property above a traditional mortgage or home-equity loan, Haynes said. "So, there would be many lenders that would not like the fact that this PACE program loan would get a head of them," he said.

The council entered into an agreement with Presser Performing Arts Center to provide $10,000 for productions, art classes and summer arts camps. Presser will have 12 camps this year, Presser Administrator Stephanie Kulas said.

The council authorized to provide $1,000 to Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce through the Mexico Tourism Tax. The money will be used to support an advertising campaign for the Real American Hero Parade, in which the Budweiser Clydesdale horses will parade around the downtown square.

The council also approved an agreement to provide $4,900 to the Audrain County Historical Society. This is an annual agreement. The city has provided assistance to the society since 2000. The money is used to provide programming at the society.

The Mexico Department of Public Safety needs new radio units after their existing radios went out of production, said Chief Susan Rockett.

The department's budget allows up to $55,000 for new radio equipment. The lowest bid received was from WirelessUSA of Columbia at $44,452 for Motorola vehicle and personal radios. The radios include a five-year warranty.

Council member Chris Miller wondered why a bid from United Rentals was approximately $15,000 higher than WirelessUSA for the same products.

United Rentals included a yearly maintenance fee, Rockett said, but any radio issues would be covered under the five-year warranty. Both United and WirelessUSA had the yearly maintenance in its itemized bid, but with WirlessUSA the department was able to remove the preventative maintenance fee.