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At their regular meeting Monday, August 5, the Mount Ayr city council approved moving forward with a feasibility study concerning the future of the public swimming pool.
City superintendent Brent Wise presented a proposal to hire David Stone of Stone Planning, LLC to conduct the study at a cost of $55,500.
Local benefactors Rita and Larry Hunter have pledged $40,000 toward that amount, and a grant, if awarded, would cover the $15,500 balance. Even if the grant is not awarded, Wise urged the council to cover the remaining amount.
Wise explained the study would explore the costs to build, maintain, and operate four different options:
1) renovation of existing pool
2) complete demolition of existing pool and construction of a new outdoor pool
3) a hybrid pool that could be enclosed during cold weather but opened up during warmer weather
4) an indoor wellness facility.
The study would include recommendations for the size, location and other specific details to allow the council to make an informed decision about the future of a pool facility.
Wise said the study would take approximately 14 weeks to complete following a kick-off meeting sometime in September.
On a 3-1 vote, the council approved a proposal from the Ringgold Outdoor Alliance to install a concrete slab and volleyball court on property it owns on the east side of the square.
The proposal required council approval because the lot lies within the fire zone.
ROA member and councilman Ken Robertson presented the proposal but abstained from the council vote.
In casting his no vote, councilman Brad Elliott said he would rather see the property be left available for a potential business to occupy.
Elliott asked Robertson if the ROA had received interest from the neighboring Mount Ayr Community Health Clinic to expand onto that property to build a new pharmacy.
Robertson said ROA had received that request, but he said when his organization obtained the property, it was with the understanding that they would not sell it.
In seconding the councilman Brent Ricker’s motion to approve the ROA proposal, councilman Mack Greene added that he would like to see the ROA seriously consider reasonable offers for the property to be used for economic development.
In casting the deciding yes vote, councilman Don Solliday said the council has no business telling a property owner how to use his or her property if the use does not violate existing codes and ordinances.
In announcing his intent not to seek re-election to the council, Solliday offered a motion to increase compensation for council members and the mayor.
Solliday proposed council members be paid $75 per meeting, up from the current $50. The mayor’s salary would increase to $600 per month from the current $500.
Solliday noted compensation had not increased in six years.
The council unanimously approved the motion, but the changes will require approval of a new ordinance to that effect.
The council will consider the ordinance at their August 19 meeting.
If approved, the changes will take effect on the first of year following city elections this fall.
In other business the council:
• approved a preliminary plat for changes on a subdivision owned by Susan Kinney.
• heard a request from Duane Schafer to disconnect from city water service on property he owns west of town.
Schafer’s property is at the far end of the city’s service in that area.
He said his water pressure is too low and he would receive better service by hooking up to lines operated by the Southern Iowa Rural Water Association.
The council said it wanted to research reasons for the low pressure before making a decision on Schafer’s request.
• approved the hiring of Jodie Geist as a grant writer for the city. Under terms of the agreement, Geist would receive 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.
• approved the purchase of a CL17 unit for the water booster station at a cost of $3,900. Described as a “safety net” by superintendent Wise, the unit automatically adjusts the chlorination of the water supply if the chlorine levels run above or below acceptable limits.