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Council approves new mayor’s compensation - Albia Newspapers: News

Council approves new mayor’s compensation

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Posted: Friday, September 15, 2017 9:32 am

The Albia City Council, after some discussion, approved a new pay schedule for the current and future mayors. The vote was 3-2 with Bryon Stilley and Dennis Conley voting no. Tom Adler was not present at the meeting.

The new pay plan is $1,000 per month (with a mandatory requirement of at least 20 hours in the office and at meetings), along with a single insurance policy with a cap of $600. The insurance part of the plan isn’t being used with current Mayor Richard Clark and there is no additional compensation if the mayor chooses not to take the city insurance. However, he may use the $600 for his Medicare supplement costs.

Councilman Brian Bell supported the measure, stating that the mayor was currently paid less than workers hired to mow city property. Councilman Merle Regenold noted that the $1,000 salary for 20 hours of work each week worked out to $12.50 per hour.

Councilman Stilley argued against the increase in salary. “We talk about the budget all of the time because we’re always close to being in the red,” he said. “At some point in time, we will have to make some very tough decisions.”

The council spent considerable time trying to unwrap an issue brought before them by Monroe County Treasurer Peggy VandenBerg. In June of 2013 at an annual tax sale, the city voted to take deed of the Allen Davis property, 653 North B St. The deal should have been closed and taken off the county tax rolls in 2014, but for reasons the council really never uncovered, was not.

VandenBerg said she wasn’t at the meeting to step on any toes, but needed to get the property off the books. “It’s just sitting here collecting taxes and neighbors are wondering why nothing has been done,” she said. It has also gathered about $3,600 in mowing charges.

“How did we miss this?” asked Stilley. City Attorney Bob Breckenridge attempted to explain the issue, essentially saying the problem landed on his desk in February of 2017. What transpired between 2014 and 2017 was never made clear. Vanden Berg said this particular property lien doesn’t happen very often, which could have been part of the problem.

Breckenridge said within 100 days the city should have the property, a deed will be issued and then the city can sell it or turn it over to the housing authority.

The city’s proposed new fencing ordinance came up for a second reading, but will return to the council at its next meeting due to a couple of minor changes. Councilman Stilley, in looking carefully at the proposed ordinance, found a problem with a property owners ability to build a fence on an easement. “Speaking from a utility company’s viewpoint, I strongly advise the ordinance forbid anyone building on a utility easement,” he said. Another question about fencing around an empty lot came up and the council agreed it needed clarification, as did the definition of a “wire mesh fence.” The council agreed that chicken wire was not the intent of the description of “wire mesh fence.”

City Attorney Breckenridge will make the necessary revisions and bring it back to the council for a second reading. Charles Lupton was on the council agenda to address the ordinance, but did not attend the meeting.

A representative from ISG, a swimming pool and playground equipment firm that had recently done improvements at the Centerville pool, attended the council meeting at the request of Councilman Bell, who was concerned about the safety of the ladder to the Monroe County Aquatic Center’s high dive.

An ISG plan for a safety staircase was presented to the council. The Monroe County Aquatic Center’s ladder is state approved, but at least two swimmers have fallen and received injuries (one serious injuries). The cost of the ISG step system is approximately $50,000. The money for the improvement is available in the aquatic center reserve fund. The council was in unanimous agreement to make the improvement, hoping to have it in place by next summer.

In other business:

• Approved beer and liquor permits for Albia Brewing Company and North Caseys.

• Approved tax exemptions on ????

• Approved $300 in mowing assessments on properties at 321 North Main and 3 B Ave. East.

• City Attorney Breckenridge reported that a house at 121 North 9th was ready to be torn down and that three other properties had been given 90-day fix or repair orders. An issue with a home owner building on railroad property was also briefly discussed. Three properties that include two attached garages and a fence are apparently built on railroad right of way. It is the property owner’s responsibility to answer railroad concerns, but Breckenridge said he would visit with the property owners and discuss the problem.

• Breckenridge said he had also talked with James May about his property on 710 3rd Avenue East that is scheduled to be torn down. May will receive a notice to have the property torn down in 90 days.

• City Clerk Linda Heller reported that an application for a state DOT grant for the airport ordinance had been approved.

• Albia Police Chief Jay Andrews discussed the results of a “speed trap” set up on Spruce Lane in an attempt to slow traffic. A few tickets have been issued but there continues to be a speeding problem on the residential street.

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