Where there’s a will, there’s a way. The Hannibal City Council proved that on Tuesday night.
The council’s objective was to find a way to help the Mark Twain Boyhood Home Foundation defray the cost of removing and replacing donation pavers at various properties it oversees. The tricky question was how to do this without violating the Missouri Constitution or having other North Main Street business owners storm city hall seeking relief with their special assessment costs, which will help the city pay for the sidewalk replacement project.
Unlike other businesses along North Main, the Foundation faces a double whammy in regard to its sidewalk project costs. Its estimated assessment charge is in the neighborhood of $13,000. The cost of removing and installing the pavers is projected to be an additional $14,000.
In February, the Council requested that the paver work be bid out. Because of prevailing wage guidelines it would have cost the city around $38,000 to have the same work done that it would cost the Foundation $14,000.
After a few potential ideas were floated on Tuesday night, Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Knickerbocker proposed paying the Foundation a one-time fee of $13,600 for its management of historic properties, many of which are actually owned by the city. Knickerbocker noted that while the city does pay service contracts, it does not pay the Foundation anything for its efforts in behalf of the city.
Unlike in February, when the Council approved helping the Foundation on a vote of 4-3, on Tuesday night the decision was unanimous - 5-0. Councilman Dr. Richard Draper and James Hark were absent.