Several actions and a lot of discussion made up the Mount Ayr city council’s regular meeting Monday night.
The council took action on housing rehabilitation contracts, a sanitary sewer ordinance amendment, applying for a siren grant and approving Little League contracts and adopt-a-highway application renewals at the meeting.
Council members also discussed the Taylor and Hayes Street sewer extension project, heard the annual report from the Mount Ayr Sportsman’s Club about the Loch Ayr Lake maintenance contract and looked at a response to a 25 cent per 1,000 gallon increase in water costs.
Housing rehabilitation contracts
Becky Nardy from the Southern Iowa Council of Governments was on hand to bring three contracts for the council to sign for housing rehabilitation projects under the Community Development Block Grant program.
Contracts for $30,750 for one house and $32,080 for house two were approved for Frey Construction, the low bidder on these two rehabilitation projects.
Total Home Solutions was the low bidder on the third house with a contract for $26,100.
The grant is set to provide rehabilitation for four or five homes in Mount Ayr.
Other house contracts will be approved at a later date.
Sewer extension project
Heath Picken from Howard R. Greene, the city engineering firm, was present to bring the council an update on the Taylor and Hayse Street sewer extension project.
Picken had developed a couple of different scenarios to show that the costs for the project would fall within the funding for the project from Community Development Block Grant and State Revolving Fund loan sources.
He told the council that he had talked with the Community Development Block Grant providers and they would be willing for a change to be made in the project from a gravity flow to a force main sewer system. The grant could be used for up to 48 percent of the sewer project.
He said the state Department of Natural Resources seemed to think that the loan funds could be used for the project, but will need to check with the national office for final approval.
Two of the next steps in the process are to write formal requests for the change in program to these agencies. A public notice of the change will also need to be made.
Once the funding is approved, design work will be able to begin. He suggested that the council probably should make sure easements are adequate for the change to the grinder pump sewer system.
He suggested that the city find a local contractor to help with the electrical hookups to the pumps for each home. He said it could be done less expensively than having the engineering firm do the work.
Jim Feeback raised questions about how the city was to pay back the loan for the project. Picken said his company had done a survey of water and sewer prices in several Iowa communities that he would pass on to the council.
He noted that councils in the past typically haven’t included depreciation for water and sewer systems which could provide funds the next time changes are needed in a water or sewer treatment plant.
Prices have been artificially low when not taking these replacement costs over time into account.
Council members indicated they would look at the contract for $21,000 more in design costs with the company once Picken had received the approvals from the CDBG and Department of Natural Resources.
Sanitary sewer ordinance change
The council approved the first reading of a change in the sanitary sewer system ordinance at the meeting.
The section changed has to do with requirements for sewer connection. The ordinance already calls for mandatory hookup with the city sewer if the sewer line comes past the property.
The change makes is clear that low pressure sewer lines like the ones planned for the Taylor and Hayes Street sewer extension project will require hookup just as gravity flow sewers do.
Report from Sportsman’s Club
Bill Armstrong, Matt Routh and Ted Smith were on hand for the Mount Ayr Sportman’s Club’s annual report on its maintenance contract for Loch Ayr that it has with the city of Mount Ayr.
The three-year contract is going into its third year and calls for the Mount Ayr Sportsman’s Club to provide maintenance activities for the lake, that previously served as the city reservoir.
The club representatives reported on how the $17,000 that it was provided for maintenance from leases to people who have lots at the lake was spent in the last year.
It was noted that nine new lots had been set up and leased for the current year. This makes a total of 64 lots leased to people around the lake.
Several possible projects around the lake were discussed with council members from docks to a grill at the shelter house and from copper sulfate for the lake to cleaning the spillway.
Pam Poore noted that the first half payment of $8,500 for the new season would be made soon to the Sportman’s Club.
Poore shared the list of people who have leased the new lots at the lake and noted that there was still one new and one lot which had been relinquished that needed to be leased.
Leasing eight of the nine new lots on the lake so far are David Cunning, Steve Roe, Clint Poore, Jared Murphy, Chuck Waske, Nathan Weeda, Nancy Reynolds and Kenny Robertson.
Lots are leased in the order requests for them are made on a list kept by the city clerk.
No major problems were mentioned by either side after the report and the final year of the contract will go forward as it was written with negotiations for a new contract to be done for next summer.
Water cost increase
The cost of the water that the Southern Iowa Rural Water Association provides the city of Mount Ayr will be going up by 25 cents per 1,000 gallons beginning July 1.
City clerk Pam Poore asked the council to begin thinking about how the council would handle what is estimated as more than $13,000 in new costs to the city.
Because the city buys some 25 percent more water than it uses for water that is used by city buildings and parks and for loses in the system, just raising the water rates 25 cents is not enough to cover the costs, it was noted.
It would take at least a 33 cent per 1,000 increase to cover the costs of the water increase. A water increase also automatically increases the sewer bills, it was noted.
Also brought up for discussion was the matter of charging a water meter fee to provide funds for upgrading and replacing water meters for the city.
Several council members noted that they knew that increases would be hard on low income residents but didn’t know of places were the increase could be made up in other ways unless other services were cut.
Council members were asked to think about options to bring back to the first council meeting in May for a decision.
Little League contracts
The Mount Ayr Park Board presented a list of coaches for the Little League program this summer for the city council to approve.
Sharing coaching responsibilities for the teams this summer will be Nikki Minnick, Kelly Klommhaus, Eric Ehlen, Randy Gregg, Julie Stewart, Matt West, David Greene, Chris Eaton, Mark Gregg, Ed McCreary, Doug Still, Marci Johnson, Susan Hickman, Jodi Wurster, Leslie Dredge Murphy, Angie Glendenning and Amy Mobley.
Siren grant application
Teresa Jackson, Emergency Management director, had contacted the council about seeking a grant to make two of the city sirens narrow band compliant, something that must be accomplished by next year.
Jackson asked the council if they would be willing to pay $2,090 to match a grant of $2,090 for the equipment needed to make the change in communicating with two of the city sirens. The newest siren in the east part of town already has the necessary equipment.
The council voted to approve seeking the grant and providing the funds to match it if it is received.
The council also approved two Iowa Department of Transportation adopt-a-highway applications.
Groups wanting to take part in the program where they pick up trash along a section of highway in the city limits are approved the the city council.
The Mount Ayr Eastern Star, Rainbow for Girls and Masonic Lodge groups had an application renewal for a section of Highway 2 and the Mount Ayr Community FFA chapter had an application renewal for a section of Highway 169.
The council approved both renewal applications, which make the groups part of the program through December 1, 2012.
City superintendent Chuck Waske reported on several of the projects city crews are working on.
He noted that work on Garfield Street near Gerold’s Plumbing was underway. A new storm drain tube is in place and the sections of the street will be poured early this week, he said.
He noted that several loads of rock had been put down at the lake to provide access to new lots there.
Chris Ambrose has done the first mowing of some city properties according to a contract with the city and has done a satisfactory job, Waske reported.
The city crews picked up brush for the first time this year and will be doing the brush pick up one
Friday a month for the summer months.
The city began the mowing of the property it maintains Monday, something that will take a lot of time this summer.
Work on the swimming pool to get it ready for the summer season will begin later this week. It is hoped that pool employees can be used to paint the inside of the pool this year with the sealant used to keep the pool from leaking.
Pam Poore answered a question about snow ordinance tickets. Those people who have not paid their tickets will have complaints filed on them in the clerk of court’s office.
It was noted that the ordinance says that vehicles are not to be parked on the pavement in the case of the Amy Lane tickets mentioned at the last council meeting.
Chuck Waske said that the street itself may not be exactly as platted, but that the city wasn’t going to move the street and parking on the pavement was not allowed during the snow ordinance.
Discussions of what to do in a section of West Elm Street that is not draining properly, tubes on property on Garfield Street where a new house is going in and a possible future request for diagonal parking on the south side of the Mount Ayr Community elementary school were also mentioned.