July 16, 2009
By Peggy Schlichter
I think I will do things a little differently with this post. As I cover the topics and if I have something I want to say about the subject I will make the comment at that time. As always my comments are mine alone. Agree or disagree as you choose.
All mention of items approved by the council are unanimous unless specified different. All members were present for the meeting.
Chamber of Commerce Downtown TIF Project – Everett Sheppard recommended for approval three business projects under the new program. To qualify a business must submit a request through the Chamber of Commerce and receive council approval before starting the project. They must then make and pay for the improvements up to $25 k. Once the project is complete they must submit the receipts to the city for reimbursement. The three approved projects are Johnson Funeral, Dwyer Auto and Town and Country Insurance. The council has set aside $50k in TIF a year for this project.
Comment – While I understand the Chamber and Council intentions to have a spiffier downtown area I think that they are short changing the other businesses who fall out side of the designated project area. To the east the project area ends at the water tower. The eastern part of Front Street businesses are not eligible for the program. Front Street is the main thoroughfare east and west. With all the work being done to promote White Pole Road and tourism one would think that those businesses should have been included. Additionally I think that no business should be eligible if the existing facade does not already conform to City Code. I understand spiffing up but why should another business have to wait for funds when they played by the rules while another is rewarded for not playing by them. Fair is fair.
Street Dance – Nate Westre requested and received council approval for a street dance for August 29th. Dance hours are 8pm to 12 pm. The council also approved the additional police hours for coverage.
Amendment of Current Budget – With no comments at the public hearing the current budget amendment was approved.
Purchase of New Fire Truck – The resolution to approve the loan for $33.5k to purchase a new fire truck was approved.
Sewer Project – The new waste water treatment project moved forward with the approval to let bids and setting of the public hearing date for August 17th. Bids are to be received on August 13th. The council agreed to move the next regular meeting to the August 17th to avoid another special meeting.
Code of Ordinances Public Hearing Set – August 17th.
Aquatic Center – The first payment was approved.
Community Cultural Center – Tabled.
WCV Traffic Request – WCV requested the city install a flashing school zone light at the site of the new high school. After a short discussion on the light, speed limit and the requirement for a traffic study the council decided to take no action until the school provides the traffic study. The city is responsible for the north side of the road and Adair County is responsible for the south side of the road. Adair County will take no action until the traffic study is complete. Mr. Ashour is to inform the school of the requirement.
Guthrie County EMA Annual Contribution – Approved.
Drainage Issue 907 N. Main Street – Mick Askren requested reimbursement for the removal of some trees in the easement, installing a drainage tube and dirt work. The council discussed the issue and decided that no reimbursement should be made. The trees were not dead or dying and they did not think that the drainage tube was necessary because it could be graded to accomplish the same result. The city is responsible for drainage tubes at intersections and homeowners are responsible for driveway and ditch/curbside drainage. The council did not see where there was enough of a improvement to warrant reimbursement.
Park Improvements – Neal Crawford presented the council with a list of park improvements. A new swing set for the park by McDonalds, a play set at the athletic field near the soccer fields, new toilets at the athletic field, improvements to the shelter house at the athletic complex and new different play-sets for the city park. There was some discussion of what size and types were needed. Additionally they discussed reviving the 28E agreement with the school for the maintenance and upkeep of the athletic complex. The mayor is to review the agreement and talk with the school. The money for this project is what was not used for the pool this year. The council approved park improvements not to exceed $40k.
Rescue Director Wage Increase – Based on the Rescue Board recommendation the council approved a 4% pay raise for the Rescue Director. The council also discussed the residency requirement for the this position. The time frame to establish residency under the employment contract expires July 15th. Mr. Ashour is to inform the Rescue Board that they must recommend Jeff Howard’s request for an extension from the council if they wish to extend one.
Street Department, New Mower – Bob Airhart presented two bids to the council and Mr. Ashour presented a third bid from a Dean Williams. The council approved the mower purchase from Mr. Williams who beat the other bids by $1,100 for a comparable mower.
Street Superintendent Closed Session – As the result of the closed session the council made and passed a motion to deny Mr. Airhart a pay raise this year. Mr. Sherman voted no.
Comment – At no time in the past has the city required performance reviews as a prerequisite for awarding pay raises. Pay raises for all of the other city employees were loosely based as Cost of Living increases as recommended by the city administrator. By all rights now that the city has set this precedent all of the other city employees pay raises need to be preceded by performance reviews or Mr. Airhart needs to be treated in the same manner as the other city employees.
Police Department – Robert informed the council that a gentleman from Menlo has a skateboard ramp that he is willing to donate to the city and another individual in town has a two level rail for skateboards to donate. The skateboard ramp needs a new surface that can be replaced with a sheet of truck bed liner. There is no added insurance cost to the city by adding the ramp. Mr. Crawford raised the issue of whether or not it was commercial grade. He then wanted to have it inspected. The council agreed to get the ramp and have it here for the insurance inspector to look at it before installing. The council then discussed placement of the ramp. It was decided that it would go somewhere on the north side of the city park where there was easy visibility for the police on patrol.
New Business – Mr. Ashour informed the council that someone wanted to buy the old furnace from the old library for $5. The council then started discussing all the things the city would need to auction off when they move. Jeff Sherman then brought up that the contractor was hired to remove the old furnace and install a new one in the town hall. There was no stipulation in the contract that the city wanted to retain the old furnace. The contractor can do anything he wants with the old furnace. The council agreed.
Old Business – Mr. Ashour brought up to the council that he received a concern that the city needs to do a better job in the future of hiring appropriate professionals for projects and not leaving individual city offices without the requisite knowledge trying to perform those duties. The council agreed and Mr. Ashour stated that he would work on it in the future.
July 10, 2009
Here is the agenda for the Monday night City Council Meeting.
Update – Have been sidelined all day today with family stuff that did not resolve itself until a little while ago. My brain is pretty much mush from an overload of conversations and entertainment of a 4 year old. Am busy tomorrow but will try to get something up by Wednesday night.
July 9, 2009
By Peggy Schlichter
Everyone who has driven uptown this week saw the old library coming down. What you didn’t see was all the work being done on the Town Hall getting it ready for use as the temporary library until the new city building is completed.
The work is just about done and the librarians and volunteers are about ready to start unpacking and shelving the books. If all goes as planned they hope to be open again on July 20th.