Bolivar Mayor Chris Warwick offered city updates, as well as praise to the community, during Southwest Baptist University’s annual winter President’s Breakfast on Friday, Nov. 22, at the McClelland dining center.
Warwick started the morning by thanking voters who participated in the November special election, praising them “for getting out and voting” and noting the City of Bolivar tax reallocation issue received a 64% approval.
He went on to discuss the city’s different funds, including the general fund, which “takes care of administration and all the aspects of needs that are needed when the other funds aren’t able to completely take care of those departments.”
He also discussed the city’s public safety, including Bolivar’s police and fire departments.
“We are very happy with the services they are providing,” he said, referring to the two departments.
Warwick noted the Bolivar Police Department has implemented use of digi-TICKET eCitation machines, an “electronic device system” that allows officers to process violations and other information “through the system a lot quicker.”
It not only allows “stops to go faster, but it helps the court system to work faster, as well,” he said.
Warwick also noted BPD’s four public outreach programs: Crisis Intervention Team, active shooter training, D.A.R.E. and Shop with a Cop.
Turning his attention to the fire department, Warwick introduced new fire chief Brent Watkins.
“We are happy to have him,” Warwick said, adding Watkins ”will continue to lead our fire department in the ways that are needed.”
Watkins then spoke briefly about fire department volunteer staffing, saying “we have six true volunteers and six part-time members.”
Warwick described these figures as “pretty low numbers for volunteers.”
“We need much more than that,” he said.
Warwick noted that as of Nov. 22, the fire department had received 355 alarms and 792 medical calls for this year.
Warwick also talked about the city’s public works, which includes streets, the airport and the water and sewer systems.
He announced the city has completed the “sewer and street accomplishment downtown,” referring to a recent upgrade of sewer main lines in downtown Bolivar.
Warwick also provided attendees with the URL to a PDF detailing the wastewater treatment plant’s variance, which he said the city has been working on this past year. The board of aldermen approved the variance with a unanimous vote in August.
The document, which may be found at dnr.mo.gov/env/wpp/permits/documents/2019-10-28-CityofBolivarWQSVarianceforPublicNotice.pdf, details the costs associated with a 20-year plan that allows the city to maintain the plant and to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s water quality standards and waste load allocation set for Bolivar’s Town Branch and Piper Creek.
Warwick also went on to speak about how the city was able to get several streets resurfaced, including Lillian Avenue, Oakland Avenue, Clark Street and North Chicago Avenue.
He also noted the city is moving forward on laying new sidewalks and reclaiming old sidewalks. The budget for this project is being increased by $10,000, he said.
He mentioned another project this year at the Bolivar Municipal Airport, which saw repairs to the runway and hangars.
Next, Warwick provided updates about the city’s parks.
“We have an absolutely amazing park system,” he said, adding “it is truly great for our community to have this type of quality of life and to be able to continue to improve them.”
One organization he mentioned that is helping to continue to improve Bolivar parks was the Friends of Bolivar Parks association.
“They truly do an exceptional job to help continue to improve our parks,” he said.
Warwick noted one project in particular, the construction of restrooms on the south side of Dunnegan Memorial Park.
The last part of Warwick’s talk focused on economic development. Speaking on the accomplishments of the city’s economic development team, he noted the addition of Mercy’s new clinic to Bolivar and the 40 jobs it brings to the city. He also said Phoenix Decor will be adding 25 jobs.
Warwick said these are “great entrepreneur aspects that have been brought in.”
He ended the breakfast coming full circle, again talking about the passage of the city’s tax reallocation.
He mentioned the board of aldermen passed the city’s budget as presented during a recent meeting, a streamlined passage he said “hasn't happened in many years.”
He credited the passage to “the ability to balance the budget quicker than we normally do because of the tax proposal we put before you and the aspect of you guys being able to say yes to that.”
“I want to commend each and every one of you for that,” he told attendees.
Associate editor Jill Way contributed to this article.