St. Mary Takes Advantage of Surplus Property Program, Grants

By MARK EVANS

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St. Mary is the proud owner of two free pieces of surplus equipment and several nicely-decorated homes.

During last Thursday night’s Board of Aldermen meeting, Clem Donze of the St. Mary Chamber of Commerce announced the winners of the chamber’s Christmas decorating contest, while Mayor Carl Wyatt praised police chief Adam Bequette for obtaining a free dump truck and tractor for the city through a U.S. Defense Department surplus property program.

With the city struggling financially, Bequest’s grant-writing and knack of finding free items available for picking up from various programs has come in handy.

“I congratulate the chief for all the work he’s done, for finding this,” Wyatt said of the truck and 1993 John Deere tractor Bequette got as surplus property from the city of Lee’s Summit. “There’s no strings attached. The only thing we’ve got in it is what it cost to go get it and do the little minor thing that we’re doing to it. It’s worth several thousand dollars. The dump truck is a ’93 with 14,000 miles on it and it is a diesel. and the tractor is a ’92 or ’93, with about 1,000 hours on it.

“It’s not like a conservation grant, where you’ve got to turn it back when you get done. This is ours to keep They are real good pieces of equipment.”

Wyatt added that “minor things” are being done, like a heater core for the truck.

Bequeath later announced that he has been approved to receive a $5,000 cash grant from the United States Deputy Sheriff’s Association

CHRISTMAS CONTEST LIGHTS UP CITY

Pleasure was expressed in the residents’ response to the Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas decorating contest. Some 10 properties were decorated with Christmas lights.

Clem and JoAnn Donze honored the top three.

First place and $200 went to Todd and Tesian Wichern on Circle Drive, while second place ($100) was awarded to Norma Knapp on Eighth Street and third place ($50) to Ryan West on Seventh Street.

“I joined [the chamber]  in 1964,  and at that time lighting the Santa Claus was a big issue,” Donze said, noting that two years ago Citizens Electric Corporation changed its policy and stopped allowing decorations on its utility poles. That led to the idea of the contest.

“We came up with this to encourage more people to decorate and everything,” he said.

Done encouraged people to drive by and check out the winning entries.

“”More people have lights, but only 10 people signed up,” JoAnn Donze said.

Alderwoman Annette Hacker said she had noticed  more people decorating their homes this year.

“If this works out, the chamber will probably continue,” Donze said, noting that the prize money isa balanced out by not having to maintain decorations and pay extra electric bills as in the past.

Wyatt added that the city “open for anything” residents might want to suggest as ways to improve the city or promote more civic pride, as the decorating contest had done.

Aldermen Dr. Zenon Duda asked where the old lights were stored. Cole Donze, pointing out that they belonged to the chamber, said they are in the attic of the firehouse and are in “perfect condition.”

Wyatt said he appreciated the work the chamber has done.

MINIMUM WAGE ADJUSTMENT MADE

The topic of Missouri’s increasing minimum wage was also  discussed. The minimum wage us increasing each year until it reaches $12. For 2021 it will go to $10.30 per hour. The city had one employee who made less than that.

“If we don’t pay minimum wage or better, we aren’t going to keep employees,” Wyatt said.

The board voted to increase the one employee’s hourly wage to $10.30 a hour to meet the standard.