After several years of negotiating to purchase land on Kentucky Street from the Jenks family for a water tower, the Clarksville Board of Aldermen is looking at an alternative site.

The board voted 3-0 at its Thursday, June 18 meeting to look at a property belonging to local entrepreneur Bill McMurtrey on County Road 239 after it extends from Mississippi St.

Aldermen Randy Snell, Mike Osborne and Sue Lindemann voted to look at the alternative. Board member Caron Quick was absent.

The city has already spent $18,000 in attorney fees in litigation with the Jenks family over two possible sites. The city filed a condemnation suit to obtain a three-acre property and the Jenks family then bought it, according to city Utilities System Operator Kathy Weiss.

The suit now enjoins that property, another one-acre site nearby owned by the Jenks and access to them.

“The attorney fees are mounting,” noted Osborne. Those fees could get worse if the city loses its suit and has to pay the Jenks family lawyer costs as well, according to Mayor Jo Anne Smiley.

There has been no negotiations on the McMurtrey property and the site involves “many unknowns” Weiss told the board. The city needs to do a soil analysis of the McMurtrey site and make sure it is not an archaeological site, Weiss added.

Budget passes

The board also voted 3-0 to accept the budget for 2015-16. The budget shows $484,000 in expenses and almost $489,000 in income “balanced on a knife’s edge,” Smiley said.

The city’s largest expense is almost $152,000 in payroll.

The largest income contributer is almost $323,000 from city services income. The city gets almost $46,000 from the Ameren UE Franchise Tax and $31,000 in city sales tax.

The city will continue to pursue grants and low-interest loans to keep upgrading its infrastructure, Smiley said in her annual budget message. The city will also begin working to build or purchase a new city shop building, Smiley said. The old one is deteriorating and unsafe, she added.

Officer sought for emergencies

The city continues looking for a flood plain and emergency management officer to handle the city’s recurrent flood problems.

“It’s a time-consuming and unpaid job,” Smiley said. “It’s not easy.”

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