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The future of the swimming pool at Judge Lewis Park was again a main item of discussion at the Monday, July 19 meeting of the Mount Ayr city council.
City administrator Brent Wise shared an email from Michael Maloney, a managing director from the financial services firm of D.A. Davidson, outlining potential funding options for a new pool at the park.
Maloney said the city does not have the general obligation debt capacity to issue the necessary traditional bond amount to cover the expense for a new pool.
He explained one option would be to issue annual appropriation bonds, but he doubted bond market investors would show much interest in annual appropriations.
Maloney suggested a city/county partnership might be a more viable option. Under that partnership, the county would issue the bonds for the full amount of the pool project with an annual appropriation from the city repaying the county.
Another option would be for the city to issue the annual appropriation debt with the county signing on as a backstop should the city find itself unable to meet its annual payment.
Maloney also posed the possibility of a city-wide referendum to fund part of the project.
During the discussion on pool financing, the council raised the question about the apparent lack of progress by JEO Consulting Group, the firm hired to create design options for a new pool.
Wise said JEO has asked to meet with a committee of community members to discern what design options were most important to city residents.
The committee members have yet to named by the city.
Further discussion about the future of the existing pool centered on maintenance and repair costs versus the viability of keeping the pool in operation following this year.
No formal action regarding the pool was taken at Monday’s meeting.
Administrator Wise presented quotes for the repair or replacement of five faulty pumps at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
Costs to repair the 15-year-old pumps were estimated at $32,400 with replacements estimated at over $46,000.
Wise said neither cost had been included in the city budget.
However, the city is expected to receive approximately $220,000 through the American Rescue Plan, but it is uncertain when those funds may arrive or if the money can be used to address the pump issue.
In a related issue, Wise asked the council to consider purchasing a portable generator to operate the sewer lift stations in the event of a prolonged power outage. For several years the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has recommended the city obtain a generator for this purpose but as yet has not made the recommendation into a mandate.
240th Street speed
The council declined a request from the county to post a lower speed limit on 240th Street.
The city owns the north right-of-way while the county owns the south right-of-way.
Following an anonymous complaint to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources of “excessive dust” caused by cement trucks utilizing the road to and from the new facility located at the corner of Cleveland Street and 240th Street, the county has asked trucks to use Cleveland Street for most traffic.
To further mitigate the dust issue, the county has lowered the speed limit to 35 mph on its right-of-way and had requested to the city do the same.
The council questioned how a single mile of gravel road can be targeted for dust reduction while no other gravel roads in the county have come under similar scrutiny.
It was noted the street was a public roadway that is used for more than cement-related traffic. Other traffic such as farm-related vehicles and implements routinely use the road and would be somewhat responsible for the dust.
The definition of “excessive dust” was also raised. It is unknown what metric was used in determining the amount of dust reached to be considered “excessive.”
In other business the council:
• reviewed an updated franchise agreement with ITC Midwest concerning the city’s and company’s respective roles and responsibilities regarding electric transmission services.
ITC constructed and operates the new transmission station on Columbus Street.
• reviewed a potential lease agreement with Lockridge Networks, LLC, for installation of broadband Internet receiving and transmission equipment on the water tower.
• set a public hearing for 7 p.m. August 2 for the sale of the city-owned house located at the corner of Monroe and Webster streets.
The council has already accepted a bid for $72,000 on the property but needs a public hearing to finalize the transaction.