Birds causing stink in Harrisonville

bbashioum@demo-mo.comApril 19, 2013 

The vultures are back and at least a few Harrisonville residents aren’t happy.

Residents Charlotte Swanson and Naomi Hargis appeared before the Harrisonville Board of Aldermen on April 15 with a complaint against a flock of protected species making their home on the city’s water tower.

“They are really stinking up the neighborhood badly,” Swanson said. “They’re splattering our cars and houses, and the smell in our homes is pretty bad.”

The vultures have been an issue since at least last year, and Public Works Director Jerry Gibbs said he is working to bring some relief to residents in the area.

Gibbs said the city plans to install LED-lighting below the water tower in attempt to keep the vultures from roosting by the end of the month.

“From what I understood, about five years ago, we used to have lights that would shine up and illuminate the ‘Harrisonville,’” he said. “We’re going to put those lights back in service.”

Gibbs said there isn’t a recollection of the vultures being an issue when the lights were in place. He also said he is also going to set up a cardboard-replica of vultures on the water tower, to try to scare the birds off.

Morris Coburn, Ward 2 alderman, said he’s counted as many as 40 vultures on the water tower at a time.

“I can’t figure out what’s keeping (them) up there,” Coburn said. “Somedays it is halfway decent out and there aren’t many of them up there, and then when the weather is kinda bad, they’re up there.”

Hargis said the smell of the vultures is putrid.

“It’s in my house, and it’s almost like I can taste it in my food,” she said.

Ward 3 Alderman Bret Reece asked Gibbs to update the BOA monthly on the issue until the problem is resolved.

In other meeting business, the BOA discussed approving an ordinance for the city to establish a cooperative agreement with the Hospital Interchange Transportation Development District.

The issue had been tabled since the board’s meeting on March 18.

City leaders said it is necessary for the efficient operation of the district that it enter into an agreement with the city and county.

City Administrator Keith Moody said the city would simply act as an accountant for the district, like it does in other partnerships.

As the sales tax administrator, the city would receive an administration fee for administering and accounting for the district sales tax in an amount equal to 1.5 percent of the generated revenues.

After a lengthy discussion, the board voted to take the council bill to a second reading at its meeting by a vote of 5-3.

During Monday’s meeting, Electric Superintendent Keith Thomas also proposed the purchase of eight re-closers for the city’s North Substation not to exceed $138,064.

The BOA unanimously approved the purchase.

Public Works Assistant Director Eric Patterson also took a few moments to update the BOA before the meeting adjourned to executive session on the progress of the new Harrisonville police station.

Patterson said crews have broke ground on the plot of land designated for the facility, and the contractors have hired some local individuals to work on the project.

“So far, things are moving pretty good,” he said.

Crews have said they hope to have the building’s walls up and working inside by mid-July.

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