Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

January 3, 2014

Council holds first meeting of 2014

Steve Woodhouse

Knoxville — The Knoxville City Council held a special meeting Thursday night, Jan. 2, to get organized for 2014. 

Council members also took action on a few outstanding issues, including a request from Nanette Bell of Hannibal, Mo. Bell is the daughter of the late James Bell, who served on the city council and as mayor in the past. She had requested the council rename the Knoxville Recreation Center after her father. 

In the letter she sent to the City in October 2013, Bell said her father considered the recreation center the most important accomplishment of his time in city government. 

"There's a lot of people who have input into decisions made over the years," Councilor Dave Roozeboom said. Council members agreed that it can be difficult to measure how much of a contribution each person makes. Councilor April Verwers said that Bell Avenue is already named in the former mayor's honor. 

Staff provided the council a copy of the City's policy regarding naming requests. City Manager Harold Stewart said staff recommended that the council not rename the recreation center. 

Bell also asked if the council could provide a way for low-income residents to gain passes to the recreation center at a discounted price. Councilor Dawn Allspach-Kline said that applications for discounted recreation center admissions are already available through Red Rock Area Community Action Program. 

The matter died due to a lack of a motion. 

Other council notes: 

• Affirmed Bob Stuyvesant as City Attorney.

• Designated the Knoxville Journal-Express as the official legal newspaper for the City. 

• Approved the appointment of Carolyn Formanek as Mayor Pro Tem. 

• Appointed Heather Ussery as City Clerk and Jodi Bassett as Deputy City Clerk. Mayor Brian Hatch administered the oath of office to both employees. 

• Following a public hearing, during which no comments were received, the council approved the sale of 1510 West Pleasant to Thomas Ramaeker in the amount of $32,000. This is a property the City purchased to demolish an existing structure. Stewart said the City has $32,500 invested in the property and felt the offer was appropriate. 

• Approved the third reading of an ordinance amending the zoning designation of a parcel on South Roche from R-1 Single Family Residential to C-1 Residential-Commercial District. Stewart said the original plan was for the property owner to submit an application for a Section 42 housing project on this land. Though the plans have changed, the owner's request for rezoning remained. 

• Approved the purchase of a new salt spreader from Schuling Hitch of Ames in the amount of $2,247.50. The City has a small utility vehicle used to remove snow from public grounds, sidewalks and is used to clear the sidewalk along Second Street. The vehicle has a salt spreader attachment that includes a small hopper in back. The hopper was purchased two years ago, and is operated by a cable lever and uses a small shaft to drive a spreader. Staff indicates that the cable consistently freezes and does not spread the mixture. After speaking with Marion County government officials, who have used the kind of spreader that will be purchased, staff made the recommendation. 

• Approved the transfer of $15,133 from the Sewer Utility Fund to the Sewer Bond Reserve Fund. The City was told by its financial advisors that a balance of the Reserve Fund must be at $808,960 trhough June 1, 2015. The transfer was made to bring the balance to that level. 

• Approved the transfer of $2,202,546.06 from the Sewer Revenue Sinking Fund to the Sewer Utility Fund. A transfer was made in error in February 2012. The Sinking Fund should only hold a balance required to pay current sewer bond principal and interest payments. 

• Stewart was appointed as the primary representative of the City on the Central Iowa Regional Transportation Planning Alliance's 2014 Technical and Police Committees, and Assistant City Manager Dylan Feik as the alternate. Former Public Works Director Jeff May served on these committees in the past, and Stewart believes it is important to have the City represented on them, as proposed changes to the funding formula are being discussed. 

• Authorized Stewart and Ussery to execute proxy for an agreement with the Iowa Communities Assurance Pool. This pool is the one in which the City purchases its liability insurance. The proxy allows the employees to sign and execute documents related to these issues. 

• With the City Manager's goal of having a budget ready for publication by Feb. 17, the council scheduled two special meetings to discuss the upcoming budget. The council will meet in special session on Jan. 16 at 1 p.m., with the expectation of continuing the meeting for several hours. They will meet again Jan. 27 to discuss the council's priorities for the coming year. Council also set its regular meeting times for 2014. They will continue to meet the first and third Monday of the month at 6:15 p.m.