Weston mayor hospitalized after collapsing at aldermen meeting

WESTON, Mo. — A special meeting of the Weston Board of Aldermen had an unexpected twist when the mayor collapsed and had to be transported to an area hospital via ambulance.

Cliff Harvey presided over the start of a special meeting held Monday, Dec. 18 to discuss the city budget and other miscellaneous items. After a brief closed session, Harvey suddenly stood up and approached the nearby bathroom.

 Cliff Harvey

Cliff Harvey

With aldermen and city officials asking him if he was alright, Harvey lost his balance and fell into the bathroom, which has a stone tile floor.

Harvey was conscious by the time aldermen, city staff and even members of the press made it to the bathroom to check on him, but Weston chief of police Terry Blanton immediately stepped outside to call West Platte Fire’s emergency medical services.

With aldermen Mark Seymour and Rebecca Rooney in the bathroom with Harvey, the meeting halted while everyone waited for the ambulance to arrive.

After a quick check by paramedics, Harvey initially said he just wanted to go home. After feeling dizzy again when standing up, Rooney and first responders persuaded him to go to the hospital. Harvey was transported to St. Luke’s Barry Road and as of press time was still in the hospital for observation.

Harvey served several terms as aldermen before he was elected mayor last April. He served two stints on the board of aldermen — in the 1990s and in the early 2000s — but felt he couldn’t devote the time necessary due to his demanding government job.

After retirement, Harvey decided he could devote his full time support to the city and was re-elected to the board in 2016. He served with the U.S. Marine Corps for 24 years and then worked for a defense contractor at Fort Leavenworth in Leavenworth, Kan.

Once the mayor was wheeled out to the ambulance, the meeting resumed with board of aldermen president Seymour presiding.

The city’s 2018 draft budget was reviewed with Weston city clerk Kim Kirby noting that adjustments and cuts had been made to bring deficits into line. Even so, increases to the water, sewer and trash rates may be on the horizon.

The board will discuss these at its Monday, Jan. 8 regular meeting.

Earlier in the meeting before Harvey’s collapse, the board unanimously approved the hire of attorney Bob Shaw to handle a property purchase. As part of the city’s ongoing plan to update its sewer treatment plant, property will be purchased to land apply sanitized sewage sludge.

The sale is expected to close next spring and details are not yet public.

Shaw’s assistance may also be sought in possible upcoming voluntary annexations. Discussions on this started before Harvey’s collapse and continued after he left.

Kirby reported a previous board had told her that the city would not spend money on voluntary annexations with applicants bearing the cost of acquiring ownership and encumbrance reports and attorneys fees. Weston alderman Joyce Priddy said she was in talks with five property owners who wished to voluntarily annex into the city. She wanted to reconsider this policy, and suggested addition of a $10,000 allowance to cover annexation costs in the 2018 budget.

Previously, the city had placed $10,000 into an annexation fund, but when no applicants came forward that was slashed over the last few budgets. Currently, only $1,000 had been set aside in the 2018 budget.

Opinions were split on the possibilities.

“This has been a constant conversation for as long as I’ve been coming to meetings,” said Weston city attorney Jeremy Webb, stating several property owners had expressed interest in voluntary annexation for years but had never started the process.

Priddy said she has personally spoken to several of the property owners and feels confident they will annex.

“I would bet my life savings on it,” she said.

Seymour said he would like to know what expenses the city could incur before committing funds, but eventually agreed with the board to adjust the 2018 budget. The board unanimously agreed to set aside $10,000 for future voluntary annexation costs.