October 9, 2009

Agenda, October City Council Meeting

Posted in Agenda at 7:56 pm by thevoicesofstuart

Here is the agenda for the Monday night City Council meeting.

Agenda, October City Council Meeting

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September 22, 2009

Agenda, Special Meeting (Updated)

Posted in Agenda at 5:37 pm by thevoicesofstuart

Here is the agenda for the Wednesday night city council special meeting.

Agenda, City Council Special Meeting

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Update – The Mayor and Mr. Belden were not in attendance for the meeting.  A counter offer was received from Septagon for the 800 sq. ft. addition at a cost of $197.2 k which includes engineering and architect fees.  The council made and passed a motion to accept the counter offer with Mr. O’Keeffe voting no.  This leaves about $80 k available in the building contingency fund.

Mayor And Council Candidates

Posted in City News at 2:37 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

For the office of Mayor these are the three candidates:

Dick Cook

Kevin Pieper

Peggy Schlichter

There are five candidates for four council seats.  They are:

Bryan Belden

Wade Chafa

Neal Crawford

Matt Funk

Dorothy Karradi

September 16, 2009

September City Council Meeting

Posted in Council Meetings at 12:43 am by thevoicesofstuart

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.

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The police discussion will be under a separate post.

September 11, 2009

Agenda, September City Council Meeting

Posted in Agenda at 10:33 pm by thevoicesofstuart

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

Agenda, Spetember City Council Meeting

September 3, 2009

Agenda, Special Meeting, City Council

Posted in Agenda at 8:23 pm by thevoicesofstuart

Here is the agenda for the Friday night special meeting.

Agenda, Special Meeting

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I do not plan to attend this meeting.  I have a terrible cold that I do not want to spread around.

August 14, 2009

Agenda, August City Council Meeting (Updated)

Posted in Agenda at 2:02 pm by thevoicesofstuart

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

Agenda, August City Council Meeting

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Update – My apologies to everyone for not getting the posts up on the last council meeting in a timely manner.  It is a tough week for me and a tougher day today.  My 14 year old big dog Jazz has taken a turn for the worst and I have made the decision to end the suffering this afternoon.  I will do my best to get started on the posts as soon as I settle down a little.  She will be missed.

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Thanks for the kind words and cards everyone.

July 16, 2009

July City Council Meeting

Posted in Council Meetings at 10:47 pm by thevoicesofstuart

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.

Resolutions :

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

Agenda, July City Council Meeting (Updated)

Posted in Agenda at 8:39 pm by thevoicesofstuart

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

Agenda, July City Council Meeting

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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

Library Move Update

Posted in City News at 4:42 pm by thevoicesofstuart

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.

July 3, 2009

Independence Day 2009

Posted in General at 6:56 am by thevoicesofstuart

June 30, 2009

I Have Come To The Conclusion…..

Posted in General at 11:57 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

That I could never be an animal control officer.  Why?  It is quite simple.  I would end up in jail the first week.  Why?  For padlocking a 15 pound chain around the neck of the owner,  staking him or her in their back yard with no food or water, covering them with fleas and ticks and walking away.  When caught my excuse could be that I checked on them a couple of days ago and they were fine.  I really need to quit watching Animal Cops.

That Transformers II has more plot inconsistencies than I can count but I still liked the entertainment.  There is something about the whole transformer idea that just captivates my imagination.

That this is an idea I would probably never think of.

grill

That this is not a fire alarm but I would surely bust out laughing if I ever walked into someones home and saw this.

fire alarm

That warning labels are getting to dumb for words.  Like…

On a hair dryer – Do Not Use While Sleeping.

On Frozen Dinners – Serving Suggestion: Defrost

Product May Be Hot After Heating.

On An Iron – Do Not Iron Clothes On Body.

On A Sleep Aid – Warning My Cause Drowsiness.

On Peanuts –  Warning May Contain Nuts.

That these are a couple of cool iceberg pictures.

ice pic 1ice pic 2

And my final conclusion of the evening…..

That when ever the TV says they have breaking news be prepared to hear it repeated ad nauseam every 8 minutes for days.

June 20, 2009

Parade And Park Pics

Posted in General at 1:58 pm by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

It goes without saying that I have a hate/hate relationship with my camera and its batteries.  When I manage to take a picture they turn out pretty good.  But when I manage to do something wrong which is just about every time I use it I lose pictures never to be recovered again.  This year I managed to lose the first 16 pictures while changing the batteries and memory stick.  Do I know how I managed this feat, of course not.  Do I think it will happen again.  Of course it will.  For a camera that is suppose to be point and click it has more menus than the operating system on my computer.

Anyway, here are the parade pictures that I managed to get and a few from the park later in the day.

If you wish to see a larger view just click on the picture.  Use the back button to return to the whole post.

June 14, 2009

Sunday Mornings, Snakes And The Stock Market

Posted in General at 11:02 am by thevoicesofstuart

By Peggy Schlichter

Sunday mornings have always been the part of the week that I look forward to the most.  This morning I caught myself remembering the different Sunday morning rituals that developed and changed over the years.  Having lived in so many different places over the last 37 years it amazes me how the rituals have changed and stayed the same.

Weekly brunches, barbeque’s, ball games, movie matinees and naps all factored in depending on where I was living and what sports I was involved with at the time.  But the one enduring thing I always did no matter where I was living was sit down and read the Sunday paper.  It seemed like that was the only day that I actually had time to sit still long enough to read the paper.  I looked forward to that hour or so every week.

I quit reading the Sunday paper about 8 months ago after I realized that it was no longer enjoyable.  The editorials were weak minded and biased, the funnies were barely so, the TV guide was printed so small that I needed cheaters along with my bifocals to decipher the shows and the size of the paper kept shrinking.   All in all it was more irritating that enjoyable to read it so I just quit buying it.

That does not mean that I do not miss it though.  I do every Sunday morning.  I miss the smell of the ink, the smudged fingers and the tangible feel of turning the page.  All of which you do not get from a mouse and screen.  It just does not feel like a Sunday morning any more…..

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I am happy to announce that I have not had a snake encounter since sweeping the one out of the house a while back.  Knock wood it stays that way.

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As always these are my thoughts and mine alone.  Take from it what you will.

How about those markets?  Here are my thoughts on what is going on in the markets the coming months and years.

The DJIA will continue to rise in a bear market rally to the 9000 to 9600 range.  This is a very good place to get out of the market before the bear continues to march downward.  I do not see it going any higher than that since the last leg down went considerably lower than the 7450 I previously thought.  The next leg down will in all likely hood  get to the 4000 level late this year or early next year.  This is considerably lower than the 6000 level I initially thought would happen.

There is some disturbing news popping up about 401k’s being frozen from withdrawals.  Especially if they are invested in commercial real estate.  Now is the time to check yours out and make sure that you are still in charge of your money.

The oil market is going to be a killer to pocketbooks in the coming months and years.  This rally is just about over.  It should get to about the 75 to 77 dollar range before heading back to the 20 to 25 dollar range in the near term before climbing higher again.  However in the out years it will go as high as 350 to 400 dollars a barrel.  Not a pretty thing to think about.  This climb in price will have nothing to do with scarcity or increasing demand.  It will be the direct result of inflation.  In the last year the Federal Reserve has doubled the money supply in circulation in the US.  They will continue to do so in their attempt to stave off a depression.  It will not work and climbing inflation will result.  In effect the dollar will be worth less and less requiring more and more dollars to purchase the same amounts of goods.  Manufacturers are sidestepping inflation now by packaging smaller amounts for the same price.

Gold will continue its way down.  Now is not the time to believe that gold will hit a new high any time soon.  It is in a bear market also.  Look for it to go below the 680 level before a rebound.  Remember that news is does not create trends.  The trend is lower and will continue that way.  The price of gold will slump along with the economy.

June 8, 2009

June Regular City Council Meeting

Posted in Council Meetings at 11:42 pm by thevoicesofstuart

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.

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