Local Government

News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

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MoDOT is partnering with the city of Springfield and Greene County on an upcoming project to begin Monday.  Construction beginning July 21st on south Campbell Avenue/Route 160, and Plainview Road will expand the area to six lanes.  MoDOT says drivers should expect lane closings at night with most of the work occurring between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., and some daytime delays are also possible.

Greene County

Greene County has a new acting administrator. Effective Monday, Chris Coulter will formally assume the title.

The Greene County Commission made the announcement Thursday. Since 2008, Coulter has served as Resource Management Department director. The department includes Planning & Zoning, Building Regulations, Stormwater/Environmental Services and Building Operations.

In a release, the Commission stated that Coulter’s annual salary will be $91,333.

Montgomery County Planning Commission / flickr

The public and employee parking lots near the Busch Municipal Building in Springfield are getting a makeover.  But the changes won’t just improve traffic flow.  They’ll also help the environment.  KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more.

Construction on the lots, just east of the Busch Municipal Building, will begin in the middle of next month.  It’s part of a grant-funded project to demonstrate ways of reducing the amount of stormwater runoff and pollution that reach area streams.

Scott Harvey / KSMU

Springfield Mayor Bob Stephens is defending the city’s recent marijuana lawsuit settlement. As KSMU’s Scott Harvey reports, the remarks were part of the Mayor’s annual State of the City Address which highlighted various initiatives.

Speaking to roughly 300 people Thursday morning, Stephens said the certified petition brought before the City Council in 2012 was flawed, saying he and most council members had a “real problem with passing an ordinance that we knew was in violation of state law.”

Alissa Zhu / KSMU

Springfield city officials are revisiting a recently completed project to reduce flooding hazards that turned into a visibility hazard for motorists.

A 42-inch high barrier wall near the intersection of Bennett Street and Jefferson Avenue has become the subject of scrutiny after citizens contacted the city with sight line concerns.

On Tuesday, officials announced they plan to cut down the height of the walls, a project that could take between 6-8 weeks. Costs to lower the wall are unknown at this time, according to the city.

Lee Cannon; Flickr

Bennett Street at Jefferson, which has been closed for a long time, is now open—but not all of it.  The Fassnight Creek Stormwater and Greenway Trail Improvements Project included reconstruction of bridges and roadways and flood plain improvements to reduce flooding hazards to motorists and nearby neighborhoods, according to a news release from the city of Springfield.

Anna Thomas / KSMU

During the final hours of its session in May, the Missouri General Assembly passed 10 bills, a majority of which were tax exemptions.  On Wednesday morning, ahead of Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of all of the bills, the Joint City-Greene County Planning Task force met to discuss the potential losses for Springfield and Greene County. KSMU’s Anna Thomas has the story.

City of Springfield

The City of Springfield has named Tim Smith as its new deputy city manager. He’ll report to City Manager Greg Burris.

Smith has served as Greene County administrator since 2008, and has been with the county since 1992. In a news release, the city says Smith scaled back to part-time hours and half pay last year in an effort to help the county deal with a budget shortfall.

Smith replaces Gen. Fred Marty, who died last November after a short battle with cancer. Marty had resigned from the position shortly before his death.

Candidates for Greene County Presiding Commissioner answered questions on county jail costs, a failed use tax proposal, and methods to boost economic growth, among others, during a debate this week in Springfield. KSMU’s Julie Greene was there.

Republicans Bob Cirtin, Steve Helms and Jerry Fenstermaker, as well as Libertarian candidate Benjamin Brixey took questions from a moderator and the public. Democrat Donna Bergen was unable to attend.

Springfield City Hall

Springfield voters have renewed the ¾-cent police-fire pension sales tax, which will bring the pension plan to full funding over the next several years.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial results from the Greene County Clerk's office show that 76 percent of citizens on Tuesday voted not to repeal the measure, meaning the tax will continue at its current rate for a period not to exceed five years, or until the pension plan is fully funded.  

Beginning in 1976, the University of Missouri Extension has been recognizing a history in agriculture by honoring the state’s longtime family farms called Century Farms.  KSMU's Theresa Bettmann has more on the special designation.