New water rates approved
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Final approval of a new water ordinance, approval of a street improvement project, and further discussion on compensation for private swimming lessons were main items of discussion at the July 1 regular meeting of the Mount Ayr city council
The council approved the third and final reading of Ordinance No. 39, which amends certain provisions of the city water service.
The ordinance takes effect upon publication, and the ordinance in its entirety can be found on page 16 in today’s Record-News.
Changes found in the new ordinance include:
• Anyone found violating the code shall, upon conviction, be subject to a fine of at least $65, but not to exceed $625.
• When an existing water service is abandoned, connections with the mains shall be turned off and made watertight.
• Before any person makes or abandons a connection with the mains, a written permit must be obtained from the city. The cost of the permit will be $50 and there shall be a connection fee of $500.
• Mandates the type of water service pipes which may be used to make a connection and where water shutoff valves are located.
• Stipulates that only a person authorized by the city may turn water on at the curb valve or open, or attempt to draw water from any fire hydrant.
• Outlines the stipulations for “Water Deduct Meters” and “Agricultural Meters” where water used doesn’t require sanitary sewer usage.
• Sets new water usage fees. The monthly cost of the first 2,000 gallons (minimum) will be $22.81, $1.53 per 100 gallons for all water usage over 2,000 gallons, a meter fee of $1 and a capital improvement fee of $10. The new rates will be effective on July 1 and increase 2 percent annually through 2025.
Rates for water service outside the city limits will be $37.13 for the first 2,000 gallons, $2.70 per 100 gallons over 2,000 and include the same meter and capital improvement fees.
• If a landlord seeks an exemption for the charges related to water service for their renters, the landlord would need to supply the name of the tenant, the address and the date of occupancy. The landlord shall pay a deposit not exceeding the usual cost of 90 days of services which will be refunded when the tenant moves from the property and all charges and costs are paid in full.
• Sets non-refundable account set up fee of $100 and $50 for moving service to a new address.
The council approved proceeding with improvements to E. Adams Street from N. Polk to N. Lincoln streets.
The project would include milling the existing surface down two inches followed by the application of a two-inch asphalt overlay.
Henningsen Construction of Atlantic provided a quote of $75,138 for the project, which includes four intersections along the route.
City superintendent Brent Wise told the council the city still had approximately $64,000 left in a loan fund devoted to street projects, with the balance of the cost to come from Local Option Sales Tax funds or other funds.
The rate of pay for city-employed lifeguards to provide private swimming lessons continues to be an item of contention for the council.
Traditionally, lifeguards have been paid approximately $20 per hour to offer private lessons.
However, at their May 23 meeting, the council had determined lifeguards would be paid their regular hourly rate of approximately $8.50 per hour.
Then at the June 20 meeting, the council reversed course and decided to pay lifeguards $18 per hour.
Prior to Monday’s meeting, mayor Steve Fetty wrote an open letter to the council in which he outlined his reservations with the $18 pay rate.
He stated pool employees sign an agreement that provides their hourly wage for performing their duties, one of which is to “teach public swimming lessons and private lessons upon request.”
He added that full time public works employees do not get paid extra for work for which taxpayers get charged extra, such as mowing grass to bring nuisance properties into compliance with city ordinances. In those cases, the property owners are charged $75. “Should the employees get paid that $75?” he asked.
Furthermore, Fetty stated the starting wage for public works employees is less than $18 per hour, and some full-time employees have not yet reached an $18 hourly wage.
A question also arose concerning whether the pay rate could be approved through council motion or must the action come in the form of a resolution. It was decided Fetty would bring a resolution to the next council meeting for further discussion.
In other business the council:
• approved an agreement with Jodie Geist to serve as a grant writer for the city. The agreement includes an annual stipend of $3,600.
On top of the stipend, the agreement includes a payment of 1 percent of the total proceeds of any grant application she writes. If the grant is approved, Geist would receive another 4 percent of the total grant funding.
For example, for a $100,000 grant, Geist would receive $1,000 for the application and another $4,000 if the grant is awarded in full.
• approved a new 28E agreement with the WRD Landfill.
• approved a request from Rick Stull to build a fence on his property on E. Adams Street. The property lies in a fire zone and requires council approval.
• approved the purchase of a new device to locate underground utilities. The current locator is 10 years old and no longer provides precise readings. Cost of the new locator is $6,428.
• approved cigarette permits for Casey’s General Store, Hy-Vee, CGI, and Dollar General. It was noted the number of permits has decreased by two since the closing of Farm and Home and Shopko.
• approved a liquor license renewal for El Vaquero restaurant.
• approved a request from the Hilpipre Auction Co. to use the city parking lot at the old Shopko site for a construction equipment auction for TEK Builders. The request stated equipment with steel tracks and other heavy equipment would be shown at the TEK Builder site on Highway 2 so as not to damage the concrete lot.