Engineers visit Gainesville to plan for nearly $6 million in grant-funded improvements

The Gainesville City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. May 14 at City Hall. 

Council members Dana Crisp, Teri Edades, Lana Bushong, Treva Warrick and Renee Schmucker were in attendance, along with Mayor Gail Reich, City Clerk Lisa Goodnight, Water Specialist Jessi Price and Maintenance Supervisor Mike Davis. Councilman Seth Collins was absent from this meeting. With five city council members, there was a quorum. 


Engineers visit

Water Specialist Jessi Price gave an update on a nearly $6 million grant the city received for water and wastewater improvements. She said that engineers recently visited Gainesville to view city facilities and discuss work that will be completed as part of the project.

On the wastewater side of the grant (totaling $1.34 million), the company is planning to build a new wastewater treatment lab building, 17.5 feet by 30 feet in size. It will include a full bathroom with shelves and a shower, eye wash station and will be heated and air conditioned. The grant will also be used to purchase a generator for the facility. The grant may be able to pay for fencing around the building and grinder pumps, depending on how the budget develops as work is completed.

On the water side (totaling more than $4 million), the city’s center water tower will be replaced and many new water lines will be put in where leaks are common. Lead pipe connections will also be replaced. The city’s water well #2, near the junction of Highways 160 and 5 south, will connect to the west side, and a pressure reducer and booster pumps will be installed to get the water from the center to west side. They will also configure the new pumps on the east side to pump the center well to the east well. The grant may also be able to purchase new controls for the east water tower. 

The work will likely begin about a year from now, officials said, with bid requests going out this summer.


Fire department report

In other city council business, Goodnight told the group that the Gainesville Fire Department’s rescue truck had the DeWalt battery charger go out, and it is not repairable or under warranty.

The fire chief priced the same charger at three different stores with the following prices: $210 on Amazon (online), $289 at Lowes (Mountain Home, Arkansas) and $350 at Forge & Build (Gainesville).

The council voted unanimously to purchase the charger at Amazon for $210.


Maintenance report

In the city’s maintenance report, Supervisor Mike Davis told the council that the city has two fire hydrants that are leaking and need repaired. One is located on Baker Street and another is located near the Missouri Ozarks Community Health facility on Elm Street. It cannot be dug up because it has fiber optic lines running on either side under the ground. The water loss between the two hydrants totals about 50,000 gallons a day, he said.  The fire hydrants require a special tool to disassemble, and Davis said the company he called said it would be about $6,000 to come down to take the two hydrants apart for repair. The cost includes reassembling them. 

He said the city was able to repair another fire hydrant on Second Street this month and had to replace a sewer pump behind the old weight room at Gainesville School after the pump went out. He said they had replaced the pump in that same location in December 2023. 

Davis said it would cost $750 to purchase the pump from Harry Cooper, with no delivery fee, or he priced another company at over $1,500 plus a delivery fee. 


Water department

Water Specialist Jessi Price gave an update on the city’s water department. She said there has not been a lot of change in water loss this month, but they did replace the fire hydrant next to Town & Country Supermarket and hooked the lines back up that had to be disconnected last year when the city was working on the drainage basins under Second Street. 


Wastewater department

Price said that Levi Evans, who is training to become the wastewater treatment plant operator, will re-take his exam to become certified at the end of May. 

The city employees had two areas in town that they had to use the sewer jetter on last month, one water leak was repaired and one septic tank was pumped. The employees also installed seven new water meters, meaning there are less than 100 left to install for the new meter project with end points to be completed. The new meters and end points allow water consumption to be automatically calculated, and city residents can monitor water use through an app. 

Rocky Sullivan, who has agreed to accept the city’s sewer sludge to pump onto his fields, has obtained his required tests and is waiting to put lime on the fields before he begins moving the sludge. 


Various bids 

A bid opening was held for the city square/nearby area flower bed maintenance. Oasis Outdoors, who won the bid last year, submitted the only bid this year, which came in at $1,150 for work April through December 2024. The bid includes spring cleanup for all planted/landscaped areas, gravel added as needed, plants and shrubs trimmed and pruned as needed, all weeds removed and cleaned up weekly, all barrels planted and maintained, watering as needed, trash picked up and all holiday decor put up and taken down. The bid was accepted unanimously. 

For general liability insurance, the city received one bid from MoPerm, the company who insured the city for several years. The cost was $43,284 compared with $33,003 the previous year. The company said the increase is due to the base rate of liability coverage increasing 7.2 percent, along with a 20 percent increase for property coverage and a 10 percent increase for inflation. The bid was accepted unanimously.

The city had received proposals for banking services, however, the city is only legally able to vote on those bids in the months of April, July, October and January, according to Missouri Revised Statute 95.355.


Saddle Club/ City RV park

The city council discussed the agreement between the city and Gainesville Saddle Club in reference to the city-owned RV park that lies next to the Saddle Club grounds, located on Main Street a few blocks from the Gainesville square. 

Goodnight said that the city owns the land, pays for water and electricity and mows the area. The city accepts RV reservations throughout the year at $15 per site per day; however, the Saddle Club has handled reservations for sites during events it puts on for many years. 

Goodnight said that her understanding is that the agreement has been for the Saddle Club to take reservations during those saddle club events and charge whatever they see fit, then give the city $15 per site, per day to cover the expenses of operating the sites, while the Saddle Club can retain the remainder of the camping fee for its organization. 

In more recent years, the payments to the city haven’t been received, she said, and there has been some new faces in the organization. The city has also heard some feedback that some members of the club have questioned the agreement and believed the $15 fee to the city was too much. Goodnight said the specific amount is not spelled out in the contract. The city council agreed to have the city attorney re-draft a contract with the Saddle Club that spells out the agreement and $15 per site, per day fee that should be directed to the city to help ease any confusion.

Monty Hambelton with the Saddle Club had also submitted a request to remove the rocks that were used to compose a rock wall at the saddle club grounds after he killed six snakes in the area. It was damaged in the flood and is not formed into a wall anymore. The council voted unanimously to allow him to remove the rocks and move them or use them as he sees fit. 


Septic pumping service

Will Johnson, who has partnered with Seth Smith of SDS Excavation, has showed interest in submitting a bid for septic pump service for the city. The city is now requesting bids for the service (see page 10), and Johnson can submit a bid for consideration. 


Equipment requests

Davis said that there is an oil leak in the city’s mini excavator, and he asked permission to take the equipment to get it fixed. He said he may take it to John Deere in Rogersville, but he was also going to call around to see if there was somewhere closer that worked on them. The council voted unanimously to allow Mike to take the equipment for repair.


Next meeting

The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 11, at Gainesville City Hall. Meetings are open to the public. 

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423