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Republic council considers compensation and rezoning issues

credit: City of Republic

New mayor Eric Franklin and new councilmembers Daniel Harter and Justin Shaw were also sworn in during Tuesday's meeting.

At a busy meeting Tuesday Republic’s City Council moved forward on infrastructure for the city’s new intermediate school, voted down an increase in their own compensation, swore in new council members and mayor and heard from a packed room with concerns about rezoning along the 1100 block of North Main in Republic. Council also voted to donate property along North Main to the Republic Historical Society as the site for a future Historical Museum.

Almost all council members addressed the compensation question during discussion. Incoming mayor Eric Franklin said if nothing else he appreciated the chance for the discussion. Members considered the time commitment of their work and perceptions of low interest in serving on council.

Outgoing council member Clint Gerlek cited a number of reasons he thought citizens may not participate in local government but did not think compensation was one of them. He said, “I don’t think any member of this council can say that the compensation they received was a deciding factor for them wanting to run or continuing to be here.”

The ordinance would have raised compensation for the next council and the mayor. Currently council members are paid $200 a month. The mayor is paid $400 a month. The proposal would have adjusted compensation to $250 a meeting for council and $500 a meeting for mayor and would have made attendance mandatory for payment.

Council members Garry Wilson and Justin Neal voted in favor of the proposal, but ultimately it failed two to five.

After old business, new council members were sworn in. Daniel Harter and Justin Shaw joined the council along with new mayor Eric Franklin.

The new council got right to work. They heard from a crowded room regarding a potential rezoning in the 1100 block of North Main at the northern edge of the city. Two rezoning ordinances for the area were read for the first time this week and will be voted on at the next council meeting. Combined they would turn 25 acres of agricultural land and five acres of medium density residential into 30 acres total of high density single-family residential zoning. Residents near the property spoke out against the rezoning. They cited among other things its potential impact on storm water management and traffic.

Civil engineer Chris Wynn addressed council and resident concerns on behalf of the developer.

Wynn explained "the question at hand today is: is the R-1H (single-resident high density) zoning applicable to this piece of property? We’ll talk about the plats. We’ll talk about the roadway system. We’ll talk about the stormwater when we submit the preliminary plat but is R1-H appropriate adjacent to R-1H, (and) R-1M (single-resident medium density).”

Those rezoning ordinances will be put to a vote at the next Republic City Council meeting May 7.