Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Local News

March 13, 2013

Pleasantville council discusses projects


Pleasantville —

"I'm a purist when it comes back to the Tenth Amendment," Heartsill said. 
Heartsill was present again at Tuesday's meeting. No one had been able to give him a definitive answer regarding the EPA's authority. 
Sen. Chuck Grassley said Wednesday that there is not much that can be done to fight the EPA. There are lawsuits pending against the EPA and its regulations, but he says there is no process in Congress to make changes to the EPA's decisions. A new law would be required and he is not confident one would be passed. 
What he would like Congress to do would be to adopt a rule that says if an EPA regulation will have $100 million in impact, the regulation must seek Congressional approval. This is called the REINS Act. 
But for now, the council has not made a decision about whether or not to make improvements. Snyder has advised the council to proceed with the rate increase, in anticipation of the changes becoming necessary. 
The EPA's new regulations will not only impact Pleasantville, but many other small Iowa communities, including others in Marion County. 
"Pleasantville's just the tip of the iceberg," Mrstik said. 
"There will be more," Wickland added. 
If further improvements are necessary for Pleasantville's sewer system, the costs are going to befall local businesses and residents. Mrstik is concerned not only about the additional costs will have on residents, but about the City's ability to grow and develop if sewer rates become excessive. 
Jasper Street proposal
The town was also informed of the City's discussions about Jasper Street. This $3 million project would be broken down into phases, in an effort to provide a concrete thoroughfare through the town. Property owners along Jasper Street would be assessed a portion of the costs of the improvement. 
Mayor Jason Anthony said nothing has been decided, but the discussion has begun, due to issues with flooding along the road. When discussing capital improvement projects with City staff, he and the council often hear Jasper Street mentioned first. The City does not want to act without input from the public. 
"We wanted to invite you in here, to communicate," Anthony said. "Nothing has been decided, but we did want to open the doors and invite you in to this conversation." 
In addition to paving, the project would include utility infrastructure improvement below the street. A source of funding could be Farm to Market roads, as Jasper turns into G-40. Requests for funds for this would have to be made through Marion County. 
Residents were concerned about the proposed $7 million in improvements discussed. Concern about rising utility rates, the assessment and more was raised. The City could spread the costs of the Jasper Street improvements over the entire City if it desired to pay for the project with a general obligation bond. 
"It's being considered," Hartoff said. "Every option is on the table." 
No action was taken on Jasper Street or the sewer improvements. The public is encouraged to attend a regular city council meeting to raise more questions and to provide more input. The council meets the third Monday of every month. Mrstik said the sewer issue will likely be on the next agenda. 
Memorial Hall
As we've been reporting, Marion County is considering transferring ownership of the Pleasantville Memorial Hall to the City of Pleasantville. Legion Representative Dennis Murphy reviewed for the crowd the many projects, and thousands of dollars that have been made to the hall in the last few years. 
The City representatives expressed a willingness to take on ownership of the building, but only if the majority of residents who spoke to them would be in favor of it. Mrstik said the building is an emergency shelter and ensuring its availability in times of need would be a positive step.  No action was taken. 
"I thought (the meeting) was very productive," Councilor Aaron Hurt said. He encourages residents to contact him with their thoughts on these issues. 


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Upon completion and reopening of Third Street, should the City of Knoxville wait to start the next stage of the Streetscape and Infrastructure project until 2015?

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