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The Mount Ayr city council discussed future of city-owned properties and held three public hearings at the regular meeting Monday, October 3.
With city attorney Erin Hardisty joining the meeting online, the council sought to determine what should be done with three properties currently owned by the city.
The properties included approximately 4 acres near the north city limits formerly owned by Athena and Elbert Strange, a vacant lot at 206 E. Jefferson Street near the old water tower, and the small vacant lot on Garfield Street south of the football practice field.
Hardisty recommended the council must first determine the market value of each parcel and ensure the city possesses legal title to each property. At that point the council could set their minimum bid amounts as well as any requirements attached to the sale of each parcel. The sale would be conducted through sealed bids.
In a related matter, the city has been offered the gift of the old concrete plant on Columbus Street. City administrator Brent Wise estimated surveying and cleaning up the facility would cost between $3,000 to $3,500. The council authorized Wise to continue discussions with Concrete Supply, Inc., the owner of the facility.
The council also approved the survey of a property on N. Hayes Street prior to the approval of a building permit for the installation of a farm field entrance. Wise said he wanted to make sure of property boundaries before approving the permit.
The council conducted three public hearings during Monday’s meeting.
The first pertained to the authorization to enter a General Obligation Corporate Purpose Loan agreement with City State Bank. The $400,000 loan carried a term of three years at 3.9% interest. Funds would be used for a street improvement project. Following the hearing the council authorized the city to enter the loan agreement.
The second public hearing included the first reading of a proposed change to the city ordinance related to the city’s garbage collection service. The amended ordinance would result in a nearly 20 percent increase in fees for garbage service in the city. Chad Hunt attended Monday’s meeting to speak against the proposed ordinance change, stating his contention that the city should first charge a minimum utility fee to all vacant properties within the city limits. Following the hearing, the council approved the first reading of the new ordinance.
The third public hearing was to consider a resolution calling for a referendum in March on the proposition to enter a General Obligation Loan Agreement to borrow money in a principal amount not to exceed $2 million. The resolution would allow the city to move forward on a new swimming pool project if the referendum passes. Brent Wise said the loan agreement does not stipulate any specifics for the pool design, and funds could be used for either an indoor or outdoor pool facility. In a related note, Wise informed the council the design and scope for a new outdoor pool have been scaled back to reduce project costs. The latest design would create a 3.996 square-foot pool for an estimated $2.9-$3.2 million, down from the original design estimate of $4 million. The new design includes no additional features and would be smaller than the current 4,900 square-foot pool.
In discussion related to the state of the current swimming pool, Wise stated concrete decking along the east side of the pool has been removed to investigate the cause of leaks that have plagued the facility for years. Wise said that the excavation had revealed breaks in the recirculation lines as well as deteriorating concrete along the pool shell. Once he received cost estimates to repair the concrete and water lines, Wise said he would report back to the council with further recommendations.
In other business the Council:
• approved a Floodplain Management Ordinance as recommended by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Although only a small sliver of property near the Waste Water Treatment Plant lies in a floodplain, the DNR stated that without the floodplain ordinance, the city would be ineligible for federal or state funding in the event of a natural disaster.
• approved a water utility agreement with MATURA to participate in their Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program.
• learned bids are being prepared for improvements at the city airport. Grants of nearly $100,000 have been awarded for installation of new hanger doors and runway lighting, with the city to match 25 percent of the total project cost.
• authorized Wise to bid on a hydro-excavator at the liquidation sale of a regional contractor. If successful, Wise said the unit would be useful in cleaning out city storm sewers and sanitation sewers.