At a 5 p.m. reception on Thursday, Independence city commissioners were greeted by members of the public prior to the start of their meeting where Commissioner Gary Hogsett would officially turn over the reigns to Dean Hayse. Louis Ysusi, reelected to a two-year term, presented Hogsett with a plaque and expressed gratitude for his service on behalf of the city from Aug. 2014 – Jan. 2020, including a term as Mayor 2016 – 2017. With that, Ysusi invited Hayse to step forward to be sworn into office by city clerk David Schwenker for a four-year term followed by Ysusi taking the oath of office for a two-year term.

Traditionally, the Commissioner whose term was not included in the election serves as Mayor, but this is not a requirement. In his final act as Mayor, Ysusi nominated Commissioner Leonhard Caflisch for mayor and Hayse for vice-mayor. Caflisch stepped into the center seat and led the remainder of the meeting.

Cole Hoffmeister, attorney with Emert Chubb and Reynolds, made a request via letter for an abatement of nuisance assessments for the property located at 324 S. 17th Street. The city had assessed nuisance taxes accessed in 2015 for mowing violations occurring in 2014. The lot was deeded in 2016 to the Community Foundation for Independence (CFFI) and an exempt status was obtained for the property used for a charitable purpose as a community orchard. CFFI requested the Commission release the lien and remove the mowing violation fee in the amount of $400.00 as they were not the owner of the property at the time and have since kept up on the property’s maintenance. Commissioners approved the action.

David Cowan presented a Request for Resolution to release funds held as part of a condemnation process on the apartment complex units located at 1701 N. 10th Street. The building was involved in a fire on August 4, destroying four apartment units and damaging two adjoining apartments. The City Commission adopted a resolution setting a public hearing for Oct. 24, 2018 to consider condemnation of this property as dangerous and unsafe. Since that time, work progressed with the public hearing adjourned several times. Belmont Management Company completed repairs to the property and the city issued a certificate of occupancy in Dec. 2019. Although a resolution condemning the property was not adopted there was one filed with the Register of Deeds when the property was originally scheduled for a public hearing. In order to ensure there is no documentation clouding the title, it was recommended commissioners adopt a resolution rescinding condemnation action and release funds held for the possible demolition. Commissioners adopted the resolution to release the funds.

In other business, commissioners voted to designate the Independence Daily Reporter as the official city newspaper, Community National Bank as the official city depository and adopted the 2020 City Commission Schedule for 2020. Meetings will continue to occur on the second and fourth Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. and the third Wednesday at 9 a.m. for work sessions. Commissioners agreed to delete the third Wednesday meeting on Oct. 21, 2020 and Nov.18, 2020 from the schedule to avoid back-to-back meetings.

Commissioners approved the minutes from the following 2019 meeting dates: Nov. 14, 20, Dec. 5, 12, 17, 18, 19 and 20. The Consent Agenda was adopted as presented.

Members of the Diversity Task Force led by Kathy Shepherd approached commissioners with a Request for Proclamation declaring Sunday, Jan. 19 as a Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Day. Commissioners adopted the proclamation for signature by Mayor Caflisch. Shepherd encouraged the community to attend the local celebration “Kings Vision: Humanity Tied In A Single Garment of Destiny” at 3 p.m. at the Independence High School Performing Arts Center. The Diversity Taskforce is a subcommittee of the Independence Chamber of Commerce.

At the Dec.19, 2019 commission meeting, TreanorHL architect Ian Pitts presented a request for funds for additional repairs to the 1916 City Hall building in the amount of $20,610 based on unforeseen conditions of the roof parapets during tear-off of the existing roof. Having received documentation and photographs of the damage, commissioners voted for the Change Order.

Part two of the Jan. 9 meeting will appear in tomorrow’s IDR.