The fate of a proposal that would see significant smoking restrictions enacted in the city of Hannibal will appear on the April 2012 ballot. On a vote of 5-2 the city council on Tuesday night approved placing the measure before voters.

Dr. Richard Draper, who brought the ordinance forward, called it a matter of promoting public health against a known threat – second-hand smoke. He pointed out that the potential harm caused by second-hand smoke is not based on “young science and emotions.” Smokers do not have the right to impact the rights of others by their choice to smoke, according to Draper. The doctor said if the council did not address this “important” issue, questions should be asked as to why it existed.

While stressing he is no proponent of smoking, Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Knickerbocker spoke against the measure, calling it a “private property” issue. He suggested the ordinance was an infringement on the property rights of individuals. Knickerbocker proposed allowing the “special interests” which back creating a smoke-free environment in the city bring the measure to the ballot through the petition process.

Mayor Roy Hark, stressing he opposes forcing his will on others, said he could see no difference regarding whether the matter went before voters via a petition or council approval. Hark added that ultimately allowing voters decide the issue was the “best route to take.”

Councilman Mike Dobson expressed the desire to hear from business owners who would be impacted. He proposed tabling the matter until a public hearing could take place. Dobson’s desire to hear from business people was echoed by Council Barry Louderman.

Dobson made a motion to table the matter. The matter failed on a 4-3 vote. Mayor Hark and Councilmen Lou Barta, James Hark and Draper voted against delaying the measure. Dobson, Louderman and Knickerbocker favored the postponement.

Later in the meeting, when it came time to give the measure a first reading, Mayor Hark and Councilmen Barta, James Hark, Draper and Louderman voted in favor of the ordinance.

In other business:
• First reading was given a bill revising the city’s ward boundaries. It was noted that the American Legion building on Highway MM, which lies on the boundary between the Fifth and Sixth Wards, would remain in the Sixth Ward since it serves as that ward’s polling place.
• The parks department was cleared to accept a bid of $29,960 for a 2003 F450 bucket truck from Utility Fleet Sales, LTD.
• An engineering/architectural service agreement between the parks department and Architechics was approved. The firm will design new restrooms for Riverview Park. The fee will not exceed $17,500.
• The council gave permission to take $8,000 out of the city’s Contingency Fund to repair a 2-ton dump truck, which needs a new motor.
• First reading was given an ordinance providing for a municipal election on Tuesday, April 3. Up for election will be the municipal judge (Fredrich Cruse) and the council seats in the First (Knickerbocker) and Third (Barta) Wards. Filing begins at 8 a.m. Dec. 13 and will end at 5 p.m. on Jan. 17.
• The council gave first reading to a bill assigning an E-commercial zoning to 17,158 square feet of the commuter parking lot on Mark Twain Avenue and Denkler Alley that the Missouri Department of Transportation has conveyed to Bluebird Media Network.
• Approval was given a resolution amending the non-owner occupied inspection ordinance to include a fee schedule.
• A lease agreement between the city and Double O Missouri Corporation for use of property located near the Grape Street water tower was given first reading.
• Approval was given the Board of Public Works’ board governance policy.