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A sizable crowd of citizens attended the February 20 Mount Ayr City Council meeting.
Leza Johnson spoke directly to the city council, and she reiterated a long-standing request to have another set of stop signs placed at the intersection of Jefferson and Tyler Streets.
While the intersection currently has two stop signs, Johnson feels this is insufficient for current safety needs.
She spoke from personal experience of accidents involving children and pets at that intersection.
She said she has spoken to the city council several times in the past, and was met with dismissal and disrespect.
She asked the Mount Ayr City Council, to reassess her concerns and investigate the need to put an extra set of stop signs at the location.
Brent Wise led a discussion on the cities resolution to approve a maximum property tax levy.
It was discussed how once the current bill is signed into law by the governor, the department of managers has two days to evaluate and fine-tune the resolution before it is sent to county auditors.
Once the county auditors receive it, they have 10 days to forward the resolution to City managers.
With this time frame in mind, Wise projected a date of implementation around April 30th.
With a maximum tax levy in effect, the maximum allowable percentage rate for property tax and Ringgold County would slip from 56.49% to 54.65%.
With this in mind, Wise advised that the potential loss of revenue could possibly leave the city in a bit of financial limbo until a new source of revenue could be found.
After discussion, the city council did go ahead and approve the measure.
The next two items on the agenda were the sales of City owned property at 703 North Cleveland Street and 206 East Jefferson Street.
Most of the conversation focused on the Cleveland property.
It was asked if the condemned house on the property could be subject to a controlled burn in conjunction with the city fire department.
It was advised that while this could be a possibility, it would need Department of Natural Resource approval and more regulation than previously had.
It was also asked if the city would be handling any inspection and asbestos abatement that may arise given the age of the building.
The city advised that would be the responsibility of the purchasing party.
The Jefferson property, being an empty lot, had far less discussion.
Leza Johnson stated that she would be willing to purchase the property with the intention of using it to increase the size of her yard, as well as accommodating a storage shed and garden.
The city moved to consider selling both properties, the timeline for bids was set for Friday, March 17.
Any interested parties have between now and 11:30 a.m., March 17 to submit bids and bids will be opened for consideration at 12:00 noon.
Greg Roth of Veenstra and Kimm Inc, (V&K) an engineering firm, was there to discuss a contract for the downtown revitalization project.
The project is still in the design and development phase, but the city did approve the agreement with V&K and the project will move forward as funding becomes available through grants and tax dollars.
As it stands, there is currently enough funds in the city budget to complete the north block of the square if no further funding is available.
Representatives of the Gold Center committee, addressed the council as well.
The committee, headed by Jodie Geist, reported that they were progressing quite well, stating the plans for the center in detail.
Plans include a pool to be part of the center’s health and wellness section.
As stated at the meeting, the purpose of the pool is to provide a suitable environment for exercise, to individuals for whom traditional land based exercise is not suited.
It was also stated the a dentist had already been recruited for the health and wellness center.
For the education portion, the committee stated the Gold Center had plans to open up four career path courses, one for welding, one for health sciences, another for auto repair, and one for education.
Geist was also present for the Renewing Ringgold County Development (RRCD) contribution request.
The panel from the RRCD asked the city to renew their three year commitment to the group .
The previous contribution was for three years, with $12,000 granted each year.
The city council said they would consider the request, but was interested in seeing the RRCD budget to help in their determination.
Council member Brad Elliott did voice support for the project, stating it provides a way to network and generate revenue that the city just doesn’t have the personnel to accomplish, in his view it is money well spent.
The next topic discussed was the need for an engineer to be present for the installation of lighting at the airport runway.
Brent Wise stated that possible FAA regulations require an engineer on sight for liability reasons.
The projected addition to the cost of the project would be $21,000, of which 75% would be covered by grant money.
The final item discussed was the current flyer distributed by the city, concerning the swimming pool project.
The reasoning behind the notice, was to help answer lingering questions the public may have.
While the subject did not require a vote there was much dialogue regarding the language used in the flyer as well as the amount of concerned push back coming from the public.
Of particular note Wise S voiced his frustrations at the amount of negative feedback for the project on social media. “I think its nonsense that people are going on Facebook, and bashing both projects (both the public swimming pool and the Gold Center indoor pool) and I don’t care if I’m quoted on this” stated Wise.
To end the session, the move to update the city employee handbook, to match current FMLA guidelines, and the decision to renew the American Legion post 172 alcohol beverage license were passed