Hannibal stormwater discussion at Hannibal City Council; former councilman honored

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Former 6th Ward Councilman Jeffrey Veach was recognized at the council meeting on Tuesday for his service on Hannibal City Council from 2017-2023. Photo by Megan Duncan

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Hannibal stormwater was again at center stage at Hannibal City Council on Tuesday.

Larry Craig, former council member and treasurer of the Stormwater Action Committee (SWAC), told the council the committee was recently terminated after the April 2 vote where 62 percent of Hannibal voted against Proposition S.

Craig said the SWAC team was terminated last Friday because they no longer have money to continue. He thanked everyone who voted in favor of the proposition, adding he is disappointed with the results.

“We mostly heard that many of the citizens thought the proposal was too expensive. In relation to that, I’ll say this–if you think it was expensive when you voted for it, wait till it comes up again. It’s not going to get any cheaper,” he said.

Craig reminded council members that when the stormwater system was turned over to the Hannibal Board of Public Works in 2017, there was no funding source to go along with it.  

“How can you expect anybody to do a service for you without you providing them funding? There’s no office in this city that can do their job without funding,” he said.

Craig said he doesn’t know how to get Hannibal citizens’ attention regarding stormwater. 

“Maybe the next time the street collapses we don’t put a steel plate over we just close the roads. If we get enough roads closed and people have to detour all over town because the storm system has collapsed, maybe they will wake up and smell the roses,” he said. “It’s going to be pricey.”

Craig also addressed the infrastructure tax, a 0.5 percent sales tax approved by voters April 2022. The tax is expected annually to bring in about $2 million, which was brought up as a possible funding source for the possible demolition of the old St. Elizabeth’s hospital at the public meeting on April 9.

The tax, which went into effect on December 31, is meant to improve streets, gutters, sidewalks, flood protection, levy improvements and equipment, emergency infrastructure projects and demolition projects that relate to city infrastructure.

Craig told the council that, while he agrees that the more than 100 year-old building needs to come down, he said it does not fall under infrastructure. 

“A building sitting on top of a slab is not infrastructure. It’s a rotten building, that’s all it is,” he said. “Infrastructure is stormwater. Water, electricity, roads, riverfront – that’s our infrastructure and that’s what we need to take care of.”

Craig thanked the council for the support they gave them on Proposition S.

Craid and Louderman also complimented those on the SWAC, who spent more than 400 hours since February on devising Proposition S.

The next public meeting regarding the possible demolition of the Old St. Elizabeth’s Hospital will be held on May 14 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Hannibal City Council Chambers.

The council also approved a matching grant the Hannibal Fire Department received for $82,300 through ARPA, State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) and First Responder Equipment Act (FREG) funds to purchase two needed support vehicles. As a condition of the award the city will match $82,300 for a total of $164,400. The vehicles would be two full size SUVs or pickup trucks. 

Hannibal Fire Chief Ryan Neisen explained that the matching grant funding is not in the budget because he did not know the grant would be available when the annual budget was made. He then said the funding was available through capital improvement dollars.

Council member Stephan Franke commented that HFD has had many vehicle issues for the past few years.

“You guys have done everything possible to fix and maintain them and pay huge expenses. So I mean, even though (the matching grant) is a lot of money, I think it’ll end up saving a lot of money,” Franke said.

“I agree with you,” Neisen responded. “It does seem like a lot of money upfront, but it is a 50 percent discount on something that’s going to be needed in the next 24 months.”

The council unanimously approved.

Hannibal Mayor Barry Louderman also recognized former Hannibal Council member Jeffrey Veach with a plaque during the meeting for his service in the 6th ward from 2017 to 2023. 

Louderman also announced that Hannibal City Clerk Melissa Cogdal, and the staff of the city clerk’s office, will be recognized the week of May 5-11 for the Annual Professional Municipal Clerks Week.

In other news, the council:

  • Approved a street closure and alcohol license to Rickelle Daack and Katy Welch of the Hannibal Historic Council for Twain on Main on May 24 to May 26 at 6 p.m.
  • Approved a street closure for Hill Street for Hannibal Northeast Missouri Humane Shelter, for Barkfest on June 8 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Approved a street closure for National Tom Sawyer Days from June 30 to July 7. 
  • Approved a resolution authorizing a one year agreement for application hosting and technology support services between City of Hannibal and Avenu Enterprise Solutions, LLC in the amount of $30,213.12 for the fiscal year of 2025.
  • Approved for the Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau to submit a matching grant application to Missouri Division of Tourism (MDT) through Promote Missouri Fund (PMF) to allow the mayor to enter the grant agreement. They can request $51,309 for a total of $102,618 to assist with the leisure travel market.

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