The Neosho City Council voted on first reading Tuesday evening to update several city codes to meet current regulations.
John Harrington, the city's code enforcement officer, said the proposed changes to codes including building, mechanical and electrical ordinances came about after a routine review from the International Organization for Standardization.
"Currently, we use a 2003 building code and a 2002 national electric code," Harrington said. "That, for the ISO review, is out of date. They like for each city to be in at least two revisions of the current code."
He said the current code is the 2012 version, and that the books are revised every three years.
Harrington proposed that the city update to the 2009 version, which would allow the city's codes to fall within the ISO requirement, while at the same time minimize the amount of changes necessary to current city codes.
Harrington said he appealed the ISO's findings, which allowed the review to be set aside for one year, and gave the city time to correct the problems found.
He said the proposed changes will not affect homeowners currently unless they begin work that requires a city permit, at which time certain updates would need to be made to meet the new proposed standards.
He said many of the new requirements relate to energy conservation.
"Where a lot of the changes are, as we go up through the years, is going to be more geared towards energy efficiency," Harrington said.
He said all new homes would be required to have programmable thermostats, and at least 50 percent of all light bulbs installed in new homes would have to be at least a CFL or energy efficient bulb, gas pool heaters could no longer have a pilot light and must be on a timer, heated pools must have a pool cover to reduce evaporation and insulation thickness on homes would be required to increase.
Changes would also include the requirement that each new home, or home seeking a permit for residential work, that has an attached garage or uses fossil fuel would be required to install a carbon monoxide detector.
Steve Hart, the city's mayor pro tem, noted that several older homes in town would not be able to qualify under some of the revised codes.
However, Harrington said only new construction and those homes seeking a permit for residential work would be affected by the changes.
"It's whatever is being worked on that's being affected, that is what would have to be changed," Harrington said.
"I want people to know we're not implementing codes that they're going to have to go out here and spend a lot of money on," Hart added. "If someone's getting a permit, that's when this comes into effect."
Page 2 of 3 - Harrington said once the city gives final approval to the proposed changes, the codes will not need revised again for at least five years.
"It's important to note that we're behind the times," said mayor Richard Davidson. "This should have been done a few years ago. We're just bringing Neosho into the current code and meeting what Joplin does, what everybody else has to do."
In addition to the code changes, the ISO's review also found a problem with the city's appeals process.
"We have a board of [appeals] and currently we have one member," Harrington said. "We've had only one member for quite awhile, we've been unable to fill this board. ISO's question was, 'In the case of someone disagrees with the decision the building inspections department makes, it states go to the board of [appeals],' whereas we have not enough members on that board to even make a decision."
Harrington proposed that the board of appeals be eliminated and that future appeals be sent to the board of adjustments instead.
The city's requirements for single-family home construction permits were also reviewed. Harrington said currently the city requires a plot plan showing setbacks, a building application and a small drawing of what will be done, while the ISO requires that more detailed information be provided.
The ISO review also brought about some minor modifications in the city code, including that one copy of the code book be kept with the city's building inspector, as opposed to three copies with the city clerk, as it had previously read.
The language of the code book was also changed to make the building inspector responsible for assigning an address, as opposed to the city collector, a position which does not exist in Neosho.
In other business:
• Council voted to approve a bid of $7,066.13 from HD Supply for water repair parts, to restock the public works department on parts used to repair water mains, services and to set meters.
• The council voted to award a bid to Ed Roehr Safety Products, of St. Louis, for six vehicle light bars and four siren switch box systems for the Neosho Police Department. The light bars are priced at $1,175, while the switch box systems are set at $718. The police department was awarded funding for safety equipment through an LLEBG block grant. The grant is a 10 percent match program and will require a $1,000 match from the City of Neosho, which is included in the department's budget. The total bid from Ed Roehr Safety Products comes in at $9,997.
• Council members approved the disbursement of $660 from the city's hotel/motel tax fund to support the printing and distribution of the 2013 Neosho/Newton County Walking and Driving Tour of the Murals brochures.
Page 3 of 3 - • Council voted on final reading to approve an adjustment to the information technology budget, to decrease the amount spent on professional IT services by $30,200 and add $34,202.50 for salary, cell phone allowance, social security, retirement, health insurance and workers compensation for the city's recently hired junior IT employee.
• Council members voted to approve an amendment to the city's electric service agreement with Empire District Electric to replace a streetlight at the intersection of Hickory and Lafayette. This action allows the size of the bulb to be changed from 7,000 MV to 6,000L HPS, and will increase the monthly payment by 53 cents.
• Council approved an aviation project consultant agreement with H.W. Lochner, Inc. to update the property map at Hugh Robinson Memorial Airport. On July 3, 2012 the council voted to authorize Davidson to execute a contract between the City of Neosho and the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission to provide state block grant funds to fund the updates to the property map.
• Announced vacancies that exist on the airport industrial development board; board of adjustments/zoning; economic development sales tax committee; historic district commission and the planning and zoning commission. If interested, please call city hall at 451-8050.