If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Snow removal and current and future infrastructure projects were main items of discussion at the Monday, November 18 regular meeting of the Mount Ayr city council.
Based on problems created by last winter’s multiple snowstorms, city superintendent Brent Wise asked the council for guidance in efforts to remove significant snowfall in the upcoming season.
Based upon records from the city’s weather station located at the waste water treatment plant, Wise reported Mount Ayr received 51.7 inches of snow last winter.
Wise said many of the problems for the city crew arose from snow removal contractors pushing snow into city streets for the city crew to haul away.
Because of the excessive build-up of snow, the city was forced to spend $17,217.50 to hire independent contractors to help haul snow, especially from around the square.
Wise pointed to an existing city ordinance that prohibits property owners from pushing snow onto a street or alley. The ordinance provides a temporary exception for large commercial lots and drives where snow may be pushed into a street, but prompt removal of the resulting piles remain the responsibility of the business owner, not the city.
“I guess I don’t see why taxpayers need to pay for removing other people’s snow,” he said.
Wise added the council needed to enforce the existing ordinance or change it.
It was suggested a meeting be held with all snow removal contractors to clarify the ordinance and to solicit their input on how best to address the problems voiced by Wise.
The council took the first steps toward a major street project when it granted permission for Garden and Associates to draft an engineering agreement for presentation at the December 2 council meeting.
The agreement would include specifications for improvement of Cleveland Street (Country Club road) from Highway 2 approximately one mile south to 240th Street. The project would include widening the street where necessary and the installation of an 8-inch concrete surface at an estimated cost of $1.6 million.
A second portion of the project would straighten and widen a section of Garfield Street from Monroe Street north to the entrance to the Mount Ayr middle school parking lot. Installation of a curb and sidewalk would be included. No cost estimate was provided for this project.
The council had previously secured funding for the projects through general obligation bonds.
In other project matters, the council approved an amendment to the engineering agreement with Garden and Associates dealing with the water piping project.
Superintendent Wise said Garden will receive approximately $40,000 for additional services related to a series of minor changes to the project.
On the other hand, Wise reported the city will see an estimated $231,000 in reduced costs due to other changes in the project.
In other business the council:
• approved a $6,400 no-interest loan from the city’s revolving loan fund to Faith Lodge #179 for new windows in their building. The loan has a five-year term.
Similar loans are available to businesses and organizations within the city limits for improvements to their facilities.
• approved an agreement with Simmering-Cory/Iowa Codification for re-codification of city ordinances. It has been discovered the existing ordinances have developed inconsistencies and repetition as they have evolved over the years. The company will examine and edit the ordinances as necessary.
Cost of the service is $2,800.
For an additional $875 one-time fee and $475 annual fee, Simmering-Cory will provide continual updates to ordinances affected by changes in Iowa Code and provide an online link to the ordinances.
• approved a tax abatement in the amount of $50,000 for a new home owned by Lyle and Janet Hogue.
• approved a liquor license renewal for the Gold Mine Saloon.
• heard a report that Ringgold County sheriff Rob Haley is working with the Southern Iowa Council of Governments to secure a USDA loan to go toward purchase of a new patrol vehicle that will be owned by the city.