Duda Pitches Tree Plan To St. Mary Board

By MARK EVANS

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During last Thursday night’s St. Mary Board of Aldermen meeting, Alderman Dr. Zenon Duda offered to plant trees to spruce up the city appearance.

He addressed previous concerns about trees being killed by flood waters and about the difficulty of mowing in between large trees.

He said Cyprus trees would be able to withstand flooding and survive. While they grow to be huge trees, if spaced out properly (35-50 feet apart), they would not make mowing difficult, Duda said.

He showed photos of streets lined with trees in France.

Duda said he has ordered the trees from Licking, Missouri “on my nickel” and would take responsibility for  mulching and mowing around them- although he added that city workers might also be able to do the work in their spare time.

Mayor Carlton Wyatt said he supported any beautification effort, “as long as it’s within reason,” and Alderman Karl Schultz agreed that “It would be a way to beautify the city.”

Duda felt cypress trees would also help tie into the region’s French colonial heritage, now that the Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park has been established, “to increase our position in the community and the state.” The concept of trees surrounding roads goes back to Napoleon, he said.

DEPARTMENT REPORTS GIVEN

Police chief Adam Bequette reported that he had responded to 203 calls. He also reported that the police car needs new tires right away. It was agreed that a new set, which Bequette said he can get for about $850, can be put on etc car when the transmission is replaced.

The topic of UTV stickers also came up. Bequette noted that they do not run one year from date of purchase. Rather, they run Jan. 1 to Jan. 1. Therefore UTV operators need to get their $25 annual sticker right away. Anybody not soon in compliance will be ticketed.

Wyatt then pointed out that United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) rural development grants are available with a 25 percent match. He said the St. Mary Chamber of Commerce may be able to help with the planned addition to the fire house. Wyatt also noted that this may be the last year of this health and safety grant that can help with almost anything except guns and ammunition.

Frankie Ullman reported that the fire department had three calls in the past month.

Now that the police department has been reestablished, Ullman said he hopes the city can begin cracking down on illegal burning of trash in the city.

Bequette agreed and said a first incident would result in a verbal warning and a second would bring about a citation.

Ullman reported that he has two new firefighters and one more expected to join. He also has a junior firefighter candidate who will begin to get training.

Ullman then said he needed a metering device that can display how much water is in the tank of the pumper truck. It costs $496 and he wanted to know how much funds are in the city fire account. The personal fire account has become depleted because COVID-19 has put a stop to department fundraisers.

The board approved the purchase.