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While construction projects at Ella Street and Cherry Lane were still important items on the agenda, the council members also got their first update from PeopleService on the operation of the water plant and moved forward on a plan to address their uniform contract for employees now that there is just one employee in need of a uniform.
On the Cherry Lane Project, Glenn Meisner reported that Rathje Construction had accepted their penalty of $10,000 credit for finishing the project 20 work days late. Against the wishes expressed in a motion by the council last month, Alliant Energy informed the city that they preferred to put utilities in the front yards of the Cherry Lane lots and proceeded to do so.
Despite the council members displeasure at this, no action was taken since City Attorney Bill Sueppel said he needed a little more time to decide whether the city had legal standing for a complaint.
On Ella Street, Meisner expects the sodding work to be finished this week, as well as the seal coat.
At the previous meeting, Meisner was instructed to look into the fire hydrant on the corner of 3rd Street and Ella Street, however after Curtis Sexton, who serves on the fire department, noted that firemen would go to one of the other hydrants stationed on the next block. The trucks have enough hose and the connection radius is wider on the newer hydrants, allowing for more water to be dispersed at once. The matter was dropped since the water main on third is set to be replaced in fiscal year 2017.
During the citizen’s comments time of the meeting, Larry Simon once again brought up the possibility of having a third party engineer go over the project with the council. While Council member Jeanine Redlinger did not see the point of paying to have someone else come in, according to Simon for 12 hours of their services, it would cost the city $1,600, but Council member Tom Sexton and Robert Weber seemed open to the idea. The item will be put on a later agenda.
The council members also approved change orders totaling $24,947, though Sexton and Weber dissented on one for the beehive drain and intake north of the Gehrs’, and a pay request totaling $174,143.82, Sexton dissenting.
PeopleService’s Bill Stukey went before the council to inform them about what they were working on. The council members approved $7,312 in bids for the inspection and cleaning of pumps. They also approved $950 for training by company Fluidyne. Stukey said he would investigate whether the company and city would split the costs after there were questions over who was responsible for covering the cost of those services. They also approved up to $850 for a new metal detector, paid for by the city as it would stay behind if the contract was terminated.
The council members also agreed to readdress the issue of new meter systems.
Another contract under discussion was Aramark’s contract for mats and uniforms. Since only Bryan Lenz of Streets and Parks needs the uniform, the council agreed to look into a stipend to pay for the clothing he needed for work. The city would also have to buy new mats if they terminated the contract.
Under the current contract, expiring next October, the city pays $817.66 a month. The company offered to renegotiate the contract at $4,203.40 a year, but would add an extra 12 months to the contract. City Clerk Lory Young estimated the city could provide a stipend for uniforms and clean the mats for between $1,100 and $1,500 annually.
The council approved the idea 4-1, with Ralph Schnoebelen dissenting, with the goal to have the contract officially terminated by the first of the year. The termination cost was listed at $3,385.64, but Young stated it would be lower since they have made a couple payments since the figure was given.
Also concerning Streets and Parks, the council members instructed the employment committee to interview two part-time employees. Council members also accepted bids for a new snow plow blade for a skid loader and the repair of pot holes.
The city was also informed, that due to a lack of turnout for senior dining, the company in charge of producing the meals would not be making daily trips, but making weekly trips with frozen meals based on an average number of participants and refilling as needed. If 15 or more people reserved meals for a given day, then the company would make the daily trip.
The council members accepted the premise as stop-gap until they could investigate other options.
The council members also unanimously accepted The Kalona News as the official publication. New owner Jim Johnson answered questions from the council members, including why The Kalona News was used as the name of the overall publication.
Some council members expressed displeasure at the amount of Riverside stories included in the publication since the paper incorporated the Lone Tree, Wellman, Kalona, and Riverside papers. Johnson encouraged those who wished to inform the paper of events they deemed newsworthy to call the office at 319-656-2273.
The council also had two closed sessions, concerning real estate and employee compensation. In the latter, the council approved raises for Young to $25.00 an hour, Lenz at $19.00 and Utility Billing Clerk Becky LaRoche at $15.00 hourly.