November 30, 2008

General Election Results

Posted in 2008 Elections at 9:50 am by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

The Secretary Of State has posted the General Election Results on line. Here is the site to view the general election results by county and district.

General Election Results

November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Posted in General at 7:53 pm by thevoicesofstuart

thanksgiving-wish

November 13, 2008

The November City Council Meeting

Posted in Council Meetings at 4:29 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Let me congratulate the council on finishing a meeting by 7:30pm last night.  Mr. Waddell was not present for the meeting.

If this post turns out a little elementary today just chalk it up to sitting with a 3 year old yesterday and today as I write this whose attention span is about 4 minutes on any one thing.  I am also using a MAC for the first time is about 20 years and it does not have all the bells and whistles of auto-correct and capitalization of the first letter of a sentence.  As you know from my comments I seldom use capitals so if I miss a few that is why.

Everyone will be glad to hear that Casey’s and Stuart 66 got their Liquor Licenses approved for the next year.

City Hall, Library and Police Building Update

Mr. Ashour updated the council on the progress of the meetings to gather the needs for the new building.  All the data has been gathered and the architechs have taken the information to develop a set of plans for review by the council at the December meeting.

Depot Project Update

Mrs. Doris Bench informed the council that the information requested by the Hotel/Motel Tax Committee was submitted.  Mrs. Bench stated that she had not heard what the committee’s recommendation was at this time.  Mr. Ashour informed the council that he received word from the committee that they recommend approval of the $5,800. grant for the bricks and shipping.  The council approved the grant.

Adair County Landfill Update

Mr. Chuck Avey informed the council that the Landfill Board recommends that they go forward with the Transfer Station option to replace the current landfill.  The current landfill will require approxiamately $2M dollars in upgrades to meet DNR regulations in three years.  The cost of changing to a Transfer Station is about half the cost and the operation will sort and recycle garbage before transferring the remainder to a landfill.  This will allow them the ability to self fund the majority of their operations and keep costs down for the customer.  The council approved the change over to a transfer station.

Stuart Wastewater Treatment Update

The public hearing for the proposed environmental impact study was opened and closed with no comments from the community.

Aquatic Center Update

The Public Hearing was opened for the Aquatic Center.  I addressed the council asking that they think about the direction the economy is headed, that tax revenues are decreasing and that by funding both the city hall and the aquatic center with TIF it uses up nearly all of the city’s available TIF resource.  The hearing was then closed.  A motion was made and passed to adopt the plans and specifications an form a contract.

Mr. Aldrich addressed the council and informed them that they received 6 bids with the lowest bid from Sand Construction from Humbolt.  They are a pool contractor and that is what they do.   They are very qualified to do the work.

Item 8 of the bid request was that the begining of the construction be delayed until after the pool season.  Based on the bids received it would cost the city about $300k to delay construction and keep the pool open for the season next year.   The pool committee met Monday night and were unanimous in their discussion that the cost of the delay was to high to delay construction.

There were 7 other options in the bids.  The pool committee recommended to the council that the low bid be accepted except for options 4 and 8.  Options 4 was to upgrade a toddler slide to a family slide at the cost of about $40k.  They wanted to explore a less costly upgrade and will likely come back to the council with a request for a change order to cover a less costly upgrade.  They wanted the council to understand that they thought the family slide was to costly but they wanted something more than a toddler slide.

Mr. Aldrich recommended to the council that the contract if accepted should be with Options 1,2,3 and 5,6,7, with a cost of $1.494 M which is just shy of the $1.5M budgeted for the project.  This is about $30k under budget with the deletion of option 4.  The numbers they were working with included $85K in donations which is higher now at about $140k.  Everything is under budget now.  He also informed them that there will inevitably be change orders as they go along because they will run into things that will require attention.  The plans and specs are not perfect since they cannot address what they will find underground until the project starts.  There is some cushion in the budget now to cover this.  If Sand Construction is granted the contract they plan to start construction the end of May 09.  They will probably move in equipment before that but the actual start of construction would be the end of May.  They have until the opening of pool season the following year to finish the project.

After a brief discussion of operations and maintenace costs in the future the council approved the award of the contract to Sand Construction.

Sargent Construction

The final payment for the bathhouse project and the first payment on the depot project were approved.

2008 TIF Certificate

The council approved the 2008 TIF Certificate for $418k which has to be filed by 1 December.

Congregate Meals Donation

The council approved a $400. donation to support the meals program.

Police Department

Robert informed the council that between the 24th and 30th of November they will be participating in the State Safety Program enforcing the OWI, Speed, Seat Belt, Drivers License and Insurance Cards.

They will begin their Alcohol and Tabacco checks on businesses to check compliance with the age laws for purchase.

The police department is getting with the city attorney to set the rules for snow ordinance compliance stating that they needed the procedure in place.

New officer Robert Wendt was introduced to the council.

Robert requested that the council renew the snow removal contract with Schwinger Lawn Service at the same fee of $40. per remeoval.  The council approved the renewal.

Skate and Skateboard Ordinance

Robert informed the council that there have been multiple complaints by business owners about skaters and skateboarders hampering customers getting into and out of businesses.  The ordinance covers 2nd Street from N. Gaines to Fremont and N. Division from Dollar General to Front Street.  No Skating or Skateboarding is allowed on the sidewalks in this area now.  The council approved the ordinance and waived further readings.  The ordinance is now in effect.

Old Business

Mr. Aldrich addressed the council on the Street Project informing them that in talking with the contractor about when they were going to get the work done they proposed waiting until spring to do the project.  when asked if they would subcontract the project to another company to get it done this year they stated that they would look into it.  They also requested that the council prioritize the streets they wanted to get done first.  He also pointed out to them that there are liquidated damages on this contract and they were looking at maintaining streets all winter if they waited until spring.  Are they willing to pay the city for all the street maintenance needed until spring.  They indicated that they would be willing to pay those costs.  Mr. Aldrich pointed out to the council that all those costs were qualified liquidated damages.  No actions were required by the council on this.  He further pointed out that if the temperature gets in the 30’s, frost or frozen they are done.  No agreements were made with what the contractor yet.  Mr. Beldeon asked if we could just walk away from the contractor and call Grimes Asphalt in to do the work.  He was informed that no, the project must be rebid.  The contractor has until November 21st.  If the work is not completed by then $200. per day can be assessed.  That times the 3 or 4 months adds up to $30 to $40 K.  Additionally you have real expenses for keeping the streets maintained over the winter.  For sure those are defensible as liquidated damages.  Mr. O’keeffe stated that there has been plenty of good weather for this to have been done.  This is a huge company.  There is no excuse for the work not being done.  I certainly do not want to give them a lot of latitude in this.  The mayor stated that she agrees with what he is saying but they really do not have any choice at this point.  They have until the 21st to complete the project.  If we have to maintain the streets all winter we can assess them the costs.  I would rather do that than have them do it wrong.  Mr. Crawfor asked if the details of what they were going to do could be worked out.  Mr. Aldrich stated yes he would have that for the December meeting.

New Business

I raised the issue of the storm drain cover on the corner of SW 7th and S. Division at the corner of the Casey’s.  The tractor trailers that make that turn to the south going back to the interstate keep cutting it short because of the turn radius and keep pushing the cover back off of the storm drain.  I know that Mr. Henderson has had to take the skid loader down there several times to push it back in place.  It has been moved back so many times now that it only takes one or two trucks to open it up enough that a leg, bicycle tire, child or animal can fall into it.  Mr. Aldrich stated that he would look at the problem.

November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

Posted in General at 8:22 am by thevoicesofstuart

Veterns Day 2008

November 10, 2008

Agenda, November City Council Meeting

Posted in Agenda at 6:58 pm by thevoicesofstuart

Here is the agenda for the Wednesday night City Council Meeting.

Agenda, November City Council Meeting

November 4, 2008

Winner’s List (Updated)

Posted in 2008 Elections at 11:23 pm by thevoicesofstuart

This is me falling on my sword.  The link I posted was to the June Primaries.  The results have not been posted online yet.  I will keep checking and put them up when available.

Here is the Guthrie County election totals.

November 2, 2008

Economics In One Easy Lesson

Posted in The Economy at 10:48 am by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

In an earlier post several of us were discussing the different candidates and what their platforms were bringing to the table.  As a part of that discussion we got around to the subject of how to distinguish the truth from the fallacy of what the candidates actually knew about economics as evidenced by their platforms.  My contention being that neither one was capable of providing the type of leadership needed to avoid further destruction of the economy.  I further contended that unless you understand the true workings of a unimpeded free market you would be basing your vote on a pile of misconceptions and feel good economics.

As a part of that discussion we were talking about understanding the bailout and its implications.  Considering that the national deficit grew $500 billion dollars last month as a result of the bailout congress passed it is really worth your while to take a look at the base causes that have affected your life from the first penny you earned.

I recommended that if you were interested in the subject to request Economics In One Easy Lesson” from the library.  While reading another article last night I ran across a link to the book on-line.

If you chose to read it you will look at the world in a thoroughly different way and realize that voting for either Obama or McCain is the wasted vote.

I will be voting for neither one in this election simply because I would not be able to look myself in the mirror the next morning nor convince myself that they bring anything of value to the table.  All you have to do is look at the ballot and see that there is a different choice available.

You will notice right off that it is not a new book.  It was written in 1946 and updated in 1961 and 1978.  Do not discount it because of its age.  It is not fancy, has no pictures or graphs.  It is broken down into short chapters that follow logically and give examples that are easy to translated into current day scenarios.

If you wish to understand what is happening today this book is for you.

Economics In One Easy Lesson By Henry Hazlitt