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Loch Ayr lease agreements, employee PTO policies, and recycling were discussed during the regular meeting of the Mount Ayr city council on Tuesday, January 16.
Loch Ayr lake lot leases
Council members started the meeting off by discussing whether to raise the fee to rent a lot at Loch Ayr from $800 to $1,000.
The increase would help the city recoup $36,284 that was “borrowed” from LOST funds to complete a fence project at the lake last year.
The cost of the project, as well as unanticipated shelter house improvements, were more than budgeted last year.
McGahuey Construction did the fence and tree removal at Loch Ayr Lake, at a cost of $35,500.00.
Austin Adams was paid $5,876.00 to replace the fence at Loch Ayr Lake.
In addition, the road rock cost $9,182.79
Mayor Steve Fetty noted “[Mark and Lynda] Triggs, never did their part of the work on the fence project.” Triggs owns land that borders the east side of the lake.
Council member Jessica Murphy asked, “Is there still a long waiting list?”
It was noted that there is still a sizable list of people that would like to lease a lot at the lake.
Council member Chandra Poore made a motion to increase rates from $800 to $1,000 starting April 1. The motion was seconded by Wik and passed unanimously.
In related discussion, city administrator Brent Wise noted the city had been asked if they could plow snow at Loch Ayr Lake. While the city does have an agreement for Liberty Lake, there is no agreement in place with the Sportsman Club for snow removal at Loch Ayr Lake.
“I wouldn’t waste time on it yet,” stated council member Mack Greene, “we have a lot of other stuff to take care of.”
“I wouldn’t make it a priority,” agreed council member Mike Wik.
Council members agreed the snow may melt over time and make the removal easier to manage.
The council heard a proposal to revise the employee handbook and paid time off (PTO) policy to allow for emergency situations.
Since the start of the year, two city employees encountered situations that were outside of the current PTO policy. It was also discovered that bereavement leave was only available once employees are past their orientation period.
“They should at least be able to use bereavement leave if you are not through orientation,” stated council member Jessica Bishop.
Mayor Steve Fetty presented a new draft policy that added a sentence stating “In emergency situations orientation employees may use PTO at the discretion of their supervisor.”
Administrator Wise asked, “Can we retro act this to January 1?”
Council member Poore made a motion to approve the proposed changes retroactive January 1, 2024, seconded by Bishop, and the motion passed unanimously.
The council learned recycling fees increased from $110/ton to $150/ton last February, while landfill fees for garbage are $70/ton. Administrator Wise expected to have current year costs by February 12. In the meantime, the council debated three recycling options:
1 – Operate recycling exactly the same, expect an increase, and then increase rates accordingly.
2 – Pick up recycling once a month, contracting with Waste Management.
3 – Not do recycling at all, or restrict to cardboard only.
It was noted that if a decision was made, a calendar could be sent to residents with January billing statements.
“I’d like to try once a month and see how we get along,” stated council member Greene.
Council member Poore also favored offering some type of recycling as she has heard from residents they don’t want to lose the service.
Ultimately, the council decided to change recycling to once a month starting February 15.
In other business the council:
• set a budget work session for 6:00 p.m. on Monday, February 12.
• approved a resolution appointing Amanda Cannon for a two-year term as the city clerk and city treasurer at her current wage of $29.75/hr, and Chloe Saville for a two-year term as the deputy city clerk at her current wage of $15/hr.
• approved advertising for a recreation director for the 2024 season, with a goal of hiring someone in February.
• approved a resolution to join the CEDI coalition opposing Alliant’s rate increase, without any financial contribution.
• approved a one-year IT contract with MMIT, for $331.75, moving away from access systems who presented a three-year contract for monthly IT support.
The city of Creston and Winterset have both switched to MMIT in recent years.
Administrator Wise reported that Chad Hunt decided to hold off until next year to apply for a catalyst grant. He has had difficulty getting contractors to call him back and is concerned about meeting grant deadlines.
Wise also noted that they had a problem with the truck the city of Mount Ayr was renting from Tom Christensen while using it. They had Mason Mercer with Mercer Motor & Repair take a look at it.
Christensen said he would not charge the city of Mount Ayr $7,650 for renting his garbage truck for 17 days if the city paid the total repair bill of $5,287.86.