October 12, 2009
By Peggy Schlichter
Mr. Sherman was not present for the meeting.
This was a nice short meeting with minimal discussion points. All items were approved as listed.
The Hotel/Motel Tax Committee discussion was tabled until the next meeting.
The council donated $500. to the “Trees Please” Program.
The Utility Bill for the work done on the new city building was settled for the original estimate price of around $26 k. The council approved the payment minus the tax that was on the bill.
The underground electrical work to the new waste water treatment plant will be done by the city utility for a cost of approximately $50k. The estimate received from the construction contractor was $99 k.
Police – The effect date of Officer Baird’s “no notice” resignation was September 25th. Sgt Larsen was called back off of leave to assist in coverage.
There have been a couple of applicants for the open police positions. Only Martin Miller is being considered but no decision will be made until the background check comes back. He was here previously and resigned on good terms. He has now completed his police science degree. If hired, he will still have to attend the police academy.
September 16, 2009
By Peggy Schlichter
The council logged another long meeting last night going past 10pm. I had to leave a few minutes before 10 to keep a previous obligation to sit kids overnight so I did not hear the old/new business discussed.
Two topics lasted over an hour each. One will be covered under a separate post that I probably will not get to til tomorrow evening. The rest I will try to cover in this post.
North 2nd Street Storm Sewer Project – Drake Construction was awarded the storm sewer improvement project. If you remember from previous posts this increases the size of the storm sewer line and outflow down 2nd Street to the other side of N. Harlan to alleviate the property flooding that occurs due to the undersized lines.
City Hall. Library, Police Building – This is one of the topics that ran long. The payments and change orders 2 and 3 and furnishings were approved. The payment for the electrical work was tabled based on the bill from the City Utilities being questioned for accuracy. The bill stated 475 hours of labor to remove a pole and bury the primary. Mr. Ashour is to get with the Utilities and get it figured out.
The major part of the discussion centered on change order #4 which was the estimate of $238 k for a one story addition of 800 sq. ft. to the new building. Most of the discussion questioned the cost vs the benefit of the additional footage. Based on the estimate the addition is substantially higher per sq. ft. than what is being paid for the rest of the building. The council questioned why and was basically told by the city architect that is normal once construction starts and equipment/ personnel have to be brought back to do the additional work. The remainder of the discussion centered on the amount of money in the contingency fund that this change would be paid from. What other items still had to be paid from that fund and how much would be left. Primarily that if they went forward with the addition it would use up almost all of the contingency fund. The council agreed that it was more than they wanted to pay but decided that they would make a counter offer to the contractor. The council then made and passed a motion to counter offer not to exceed $160 k for the 800 sq. ft. addition with a “take it or leave it” clause.
Sewer Project – October 12th at the next regular council meeting was set for the public hearing on the SRF loan for the new waste water treatment facility. The remainder of the discussion was about the cost estimate provided by the Utilities to run the necessary power to the new plant. The first estimate was for $36k to run overhead lines and the second was for $50k to run the underground line. Mr. Aldrich pointed out that the utility policy is for all new construction to have underground lines run. The council asked if they had to use the city utility to run the lines and was informed that they did not. With the council already leery about the utility bill for the electric for the new city building they decided to have Mr. Aldrich get a quote from the contractor to run the line to see if they had a better price.
Aquatic Center Project – The change order for the project was not passed. The original contract was for a kiddy slide and the change order was for a family slide so parents could slide with their younger children. Mr. Aldrich found out just before the meeting that the manufacturer of the slide has a height limit on the slide of 48 inches which would preclude adults using the slide. Just having a wider slide that did not afford parents the ability to slide with the younger children was not enough to add $4o k to the project.
Midwest Partnership Annual Contribution – The council made and passed a motion to make the annual contribution.
City Code Amendments – The council made and passed seven amendments to the city code to bring them in line with Iowa Code. No specifics were announced. The effected codes were: municipal infractions, parking violations, hazardous waste cleanup, public morals, abandoned vehicles, property disposal and off road vehicles. Second and third readings were moved and passed and the changes are in effect.
Athletic Sports Complex Board – Mr. Bump provided a draft 28E agreement to the council for review to reestablish the old support and improvement agreement between the school and the city for the maintenance of the sports complex. He further informed them that the school was only interested in a short term agreement since they plan to have the necessary fields at the new high school in a couple of years. The council is to review the draft and provide input to Mr. Bump.
Economic Development Grant for Dwyer Auto Body – The council passed the resolution.
The police discussion will be under a separate post.
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.
June 8, 2009
By Peggy Schlichter
A motion was made and passed to renewal all of the annual beer, wine, liquor and cigarette permits.
The resolutions for the new city hall, library and police station were passed.
Mr. Foy was not available to discuss the planning & zoning recommendations for the truck routes. The council discussed this issue briefly and decided to take no action until Mr. Foy was present.
A motion was made and passed to spend $65k for a new fire truck.
Payment #1 for $584,894.86 was approved for Henningsen Construction for the 2008 Street Project.
The council approved the resolution to authorize the Adair County Landfill to issue bonds.
The city wide clean up netted 81 items netting 8,351 lbs of washers, dryers, refrigerators and stoves.
Robert requested and recieved approval for a total of 50 additional hours to cover the additional patrol work required for Good Egg Days.
Mr. Ashour recommended a 4% pay raise for the remaining city employees (street, sewer and police personnel). The council approved the 4% raise for all city employees except Mr. Airhart. Mr. Crawford’s motion was that Mr. Airhart’s pay raise be determined at the next council meeting after a possible closed session performance review.
The council passed the $4.590 million bond resolution. This resolution converts all the city’s loans from short term to long term covering all the current construction projects.
There was no new business discussed.
The following Old Business was discussed.
Cornerstone Construction raised an objection to the council that their bid was actually lower than Septagon based on how two of the contract “add ons” were worded. The architect explained to the council that the objection raised was based on an inaccurate understanding of a bid item by Cornerstone and that the bid was correctly awarded to the lowest bidder, Septagon.
The mayor raised a question about the new home based sign business on 2nd Street wanting to know if it is allowed under the city code. Mr. Bump informed the council that home based businesses were allowed under the code as long as they have a low impact on the area.
Mr. Sherman requested a monthly update on all the construction projects currently ongoing in town telling them what is happening with each project.
Mr. Airhart informed the council that he had contacted the DOT about the road on each side of the interstate bridge. DOT is only responsible for the bridge deck and 20 feet of each side of the deck. The problem areas are outside of their responsibility and belong to the city for maintenance. Mr. Airhart asked about getting some of the stimulus money and he was given a name and number for the DOT Atlantic Office. The council asked Mr. Airhart to contact the Atlantic Office and inquire about funding assistance.
The mayor asked about the speed zone needed for the new high school. There was some discussion about the different options available but no one had any current information from the school on the results of their traffic study and engineers recommendations. Mr. Ashour is to get with the school and have the information for the next meeting.
March 10, 2009
By Peggy Schlichter
The public hearing for the 09/10 city budget was opened and closed with no comments. The council approved the budget which includes a 4% pay raise for city employees.
Swimming Pool Summer Program
Pool Manager Shannea Bower presented an outline of her proposed summer program to provide Red Cross classes and activities at the 5×80 pool for this summer. Preliminary contacts have been made to establish availability and costs for pool use and transportation is being discussed with the school. The council agreed that she should continue developing the information and present it at the next meeting. They saw no problems as long as the costs stayed within the $20 k budget limit for the season. The preliminary costs are estimated at $7.5k and will be refined as new information is acquired.
Renewal of the City Property Insurance
Mr. John Gulbranson presented the council with the renewal cost of the city insurance policy stating that the city received a $5k rebate on last years policy. He further informed the council that the way EMS and Firemen rates are computed raised an issue on how Mr. Serber was classified and that because he now receives a salary from the city his premium will now increase approximately $5k a year if he remains classified as both aEMS and fireman. Mr. Gulbranson informed the council that there may be a way to offset the increase if they adjusted their Inland Marine Policy by dropping all items with a unit cost of less than $1k. The council discussed the need to have Mr. Serber remain as a volunteer fireman to avoid the premium increase. Mr. Serber argued that being active in the fire department was one of the reasons that helped him decide to take a pay cut in accepting the EMS position in the first place. He also pointed out that during the day he is one of 4 volunteer fireman available to respond if the need arises. The council made and passed a motion to accept the renewal with Mr. Serber remaining classified as both a EMS and fireman with the provision that Mr. Gulbranson, Mr. Henderson, Mr. Ashour review the property list and determine if there is a way to offset the increase. They are to present their recommendations at the next regular council meeting.
Downtown Improvement Plan – TIF Financial Assistance
Mrs. Audrey Wells presented the council with an overview of a Downtown Curb Appeal Improvement Plan with a request for TIF assistance. Some of the highlights of the plan include improvement and or restoration of the front facades, windows, gutters, doors. Only those things viewable from the curb will be eligible for assistance. The area covered would be from the Cyclone to the Congo Church, Shaw/Belden to the old high school and R&D to the old Stuart Hotel.
She pointed out that based on the Chambers efforts and the White Pole Road Committee efforts the town has begun getting tour buses. One bus 2 years ago. Two buses last year and 3 buses scheduled for this year. Based on this and the condition of the downtown the city is not ready for tourism. The two biggest problems are that the downtown looks shabby and there are no places to spend money. The most comments received from the tour coordinators is that there is no place to spend money here. No shops, No souvenir places, no nothing. The downtown just does not people to come and spend any time there.
The plan outlines that this is not a free handout. The businesses will pay for one third of what is going to be done to their property with TIF paying two thirds.
This plan is still in the development stage and with council approval of the TIF assistance they will go forward with the process of establishing full guidelines and application procedures. The council will have final approval on all applications for TIF use. The Chamber will work as a go between and provide help to the businesses on their applications.
Mr. Belden informed the council that the bond attorney has stated that this type of TIF usage does not affect the city budget since it is a grant to businesses. The council has control over the money and final say on the guidelines for improvement standards.
The council agreed to continue the program development. A motion was made and passed support the program development.
No dollar amount of TIF to be used was mentioned during the discussion however a side question to Mr. Schultz indicated that it would be less than $50 k a year.
Depot Project Pay Estimate
A motion was made and passed to approve the pay estimate for the Depot Project.
School Storm and Sanitary Sewer Project
Mr. Ashour informed the council that the Utility Board has finished their plans for providing a water main to the new high school. The council now needed to decide what they were going to provide for a sewer line. Based of input received from Mr. Forrest Aldrich the school is providing a lift station so there is not need to go forward with a gravity line. The use of a high pressure line will suffice. The next steps needed are to contact the gas company and the church to get the necessary information to determine the route of the line which will affect the cost. Mr. Airhart informed the council that if they go straight across from N. 2nd Street they will have to cross the gas main. If they go south and east to behind the Vet Clinic they would not have to cross the gas main. Dr. Arnold stated that they would have a meeting whenever the council was ready to proceed with the project. The council made and passed a motion to split the cost of the sanitary line 50/50 with the school.
New Vehicle Purchase – Robert presented the council with the estimate for a new police vehicle. The estimates were for new Crown Victoria were $21 k and the Ford Explorer at $18 k. The council made and passed a motion to set the public hearing to purchase a new police vehicle for the next regular council meeting.
Hiring – The council made and passed a motion to hire Randy Marchant at $15 an hour as a part time police officer and to stop the overtime pay for the other officers.
The Masonic Temple/new city building topic will be written tomorrow.
By Peggy Schlichter
Mr. Chip Schultz presented the council with the findings of the storm and sanitary systems rate survey.
This information affects the “SR” code line on your city bill only.
Mr. Schultz outlined the current unfunded storm and sanitary projects. They are: $665k for the new water treatment plant, $220k for the storm sewer upgrade on N. Harlan Street and re-routing the storm sewer around the new addition at the old high school, either $130k or $30k depending on the type of sanitary sewer required for the new high school and $20k for exigent cost over the year. This totals to $1.025 m to cover all the projects.
He informed the council that the sewer rates had not been changed since 1987 and that the sewer fund had run on a deficit for the last two years.
Mr. Henderson asked if there was any provisions under to survey study to include adequate funds for the rehabilitation of existing systems and was told there was not.
The recommendations of the rate survey proposed a$4.50 hike to the basic rate effective 1 July 09 with a 15% further increase one year later. This will take the basic rate from $15 a month to $19.50 a month. There is a chart at City Hall that shows the breakout of the increases based on monthly usage you may view upon asking.
The council made and passed a motion to have the ordinance to change the rates written and ready for the next regular council meeting.
The new rates may go into effect earlier if the council decides to wave the 2nd and 3d readings of the ordinance.
February 10, 2009
By Peggy Schlichter
The mayor was not present. Mr. Sherman sat in her place.
Sewer Audit Report
The Sewer Audit Report reflected no discrepancies in the portion of the fund that is controlled by the city. There was a discrepancy noted under the Utility Board portion. The discrepancy was a overage which requires a budget amendment to correct.
N. Division Street
The final pay estimate was approved. The retainage payment was approved less 2 times the repair bill for 315 N. Division Street where the waste water pipe had shifted because of settling around the water line underneath it. The problem was resolved and the resident has presented the bill to the city. The supplemental contract has been signed for the remaining work to be completed this spring.
Mr. Tom Foy requested council approval for the use of the Town Hall for the temporary location of the city library while the new city building is under construction. The council approved the request.
Payments were approved for the contractor and architect fees.
Resolution for Annual Appropriation Bonds
The resolution was approved re-certifying the annual appropriation bonds approved for projects last year.
NOTE: Annual Appropriation Bonds require re-certification each year approving the payment source. During this re-certification they may change between TIF and tax levy. The council did not make any changes under this resolution.
Proposed 09/10 Budget
A public hearing is set for March 9th during the next regular council meeting.
Congregate Meals Donation
The council approved the annual $400. contribution to the Tri-Center Association.
Guthrie County Emergency Management Contribution
The council approved the annual contribution of $2000.
Former Adair County Sherriff Randy Marchant will provide part-time patrol service to the city police force when full time officers are not available for duty due to vacations, sickness or other absenses.
Robert informed the council that they needed to consider changing the speed limit to 35 on Front Street before construction begins on the new high school. Mr. Sherman informed him that the county is responsible for the speed limit there.
City Hall, Library, Police Building
The initial pricing assessment for the new city building presented by the architects was over budget by about $500k. The design was based on the committee recommendations. The architects produced two other designs that modified the look and construction materials to reduce the cost. The council discussed several of the design options to revise the design in hopes of bringing it into budget.
The result of the discussion is that the committee will meet with the architects on Wednesday and go over the council’s recommendations for changes to the design.
The council recommended that wood construction be used instead of steel. That the number of windows be reduced. That they preferred a sloped roof over a flat roof priced for both steel and shingle as options. Brick on all sides or three sides.
The committee meets Wednesday at 3 pm.
The council informed the architects that as soon as they are ready with a new cost estimate they would hold a special meeting to review the project to speed it along.
All areas discussed were exterior embellisment or construction related. The basic building size remains at 10,200 square feet with a 4,800 sf library.
Interior design is complete and anyone wishing to see the layout may view a copy at city hall.
It’s late, I’m tired so I will cover old/new business sometime tomorrow night.
February 2, 2009
By Peggy Schlichter
All council members were present.
In a little over an hour the council reviewed the draft budget for the next fiscal year. Across the board the budget works out to about a 3.5% to 4% increase in spending to support city services.
By Monday night’s regular council meeting the draft Utility Budget will be incorporated into the draft City Budget and the council will see an updated draft.
The public meeting for the budget will be scheduled for the March regular council meeting. The proposed budget will be published at the time of the public hearing announcement. The council will approve the budget after the public hearing.
The proposed property tax levy for the 09/10 budget is $18.46 per thousand under the draft budget. This is an increase of $1.54 from the current budget year. The increase is on target with the numbers discussed throughout the year as they voted to fund the various city projects.
Keep in mind that this increase is for the city budget only and does not include any of the county’s budget numbers.
January 12, 2009
By Peggy Schlichter
Mr. Ashour is on vacation.
Mr. Jason White and Mr. Eric Tiernan gave a brief recap on their economic development efforts. They explained that while the State is refocusing their efforts from enticement of new businesses to Iowa to helping existing businesses survive the economic downturn they are continuing to work with companies who have expressed an interest in locating some of their business here. While no specifics were discussed they are working with one business from Germany.
Appointment of New Emergency Management Personnel
Robert Smith and Jeff Howard were appointed as the new primary and secondary Emergency Management Representatives for the city.
Division Street Project
Tabled until a Supplemental Contract is signed.
James O’Keeffe – Streets
Tabled until Mr. O’Keeffe has a chance to take up the matter with Mr. Ashour and the Mayor later this week.
Robert informed the council that he has issued 12 door hangers for sidewalk snow removal and all have been cleared without issuing any municipal infractions so far this year.
He also informed the council that there were two accidents that were the result of icy conditions where the intersections were only salted/sanded in one direction. Mr. Airhart was not present to answer any questions and it was decided that the mayor would talk with Mr. Ashour to get the problem resolved.
The mayor informed the council that they needed a new motion to extend the overtime pay for the police department. The amount is capped to not exceed the budgeted pay of the vacant 4th officer position. A motion was made and passed to extend the overtime pay.
A special meeting date was set for a budget workshop on February 2nd at 6:30 pm.
By Peggy Schlichter
Wade Chafa was appointed as the new council member filling the seat vacated by Cory Waddell last month.
December 11, 2008
By Peggy Schlichter
Police Officer Martin Miller has resigned. The council made and passed a motion to accept the resignation.
Robert informed the council that Sgt Larson and himself have one week of vacation time that needs to be used up. He requested that during the two week period the council authorize the payment for the additional hours worked while one or the other is on vacation. Sgt Larson started his vacation Monday for one week. Robert will be on vacation at the end of the month. Two shifts will be covered by a county deputy but none of the others can be handled by outside help. With the resignation of Officer Miller there is money within the budget to cover the cost. The council made and passed a motion to authorize the payments.
The council approved the hire of Roger Baird as the new patrol officer for the city. The effective date of the hire is January 1st with a salary of $32k a year and the standard 6 month period for establishing residency and probation apply.
Officer Robert Wendt has resigned his position effective January 1st. He has accepted a position in Denison, Iowa.
December 10, 2008
By Peggy Schlichter
Mr. Ashour informed the council that Cory Waddell has resigned his seat on the City Council. A motion was made and passed to accept the resignation.
A notice will be posted in the paper announcing the vacancy and the mayor will nominate a replacement to complete Mr. Waddell’s term in office at the next regular council meeting.
There was no new business.
By Peggy Schlichter
The council approved agreement with Ruan Securities to perform the sewer rate study needed to support the funding shortfalls for the new water treatment plant, sewer and storm lines for the school and the enlarging of the storm outlet at N. Harlan Street. The agreement cost is estimated at $1.2k.
By Peggy Schlichter
The final $500 payment was authorized on the bath house project.
The second payment was authorized for the Depot Project. This money is reimbursed to the city by the grant authority after payment is made.
By Peggy Schlichter
Rose Swalla has resigned her position on the Library Board as a representative of the rural Guthrie County area.
The Library Board nominated Anita Hilgers to fill the position.
A motion was made and passed to accept the recommendation appointing Anita Hilgers to the Library Board.