The Vinton City Council met in session on Thursday evening at City Hall,
The regular session convened at 7:00 p.m. with Ron Hessenius, Rylie Phlughaupt, Bethany Gates, Zach Parmeter and Andrew Elwick were present, Tami Stark was absent.
The following was approved:
-Special Class C retail alcohol license for Cobblestone Inn & Suites,
-Class B retail alcohol license for Dollar General
-A tobacco retail permit for Family Dollar Store
Under Committee Reports Mayor Bud Maynard reported on the 1st St. West discussion and mentioned that they discussed the new water plant.
Councilmember Bethany Gates reported that the Rental Code meeting was postponed as the landlords had not met since the October meeting to discuss the proposed rental code. They plan to meet this month. She said that the goal is to have code by March and if it drags into April that the council may need to come up with an ordinance.
Under Citizen's Input Donna Whaley, requested two handicapped parking spaces in front of the North Star Community Services offices next to the USBank drive through at 105 West 5th. This was referred to the Public Safety Committee that will meet on Monday the 12th at 4:30 p.m. (Note the time change from 5:00 p.m. as originally decided) to discuss and propose action for the next council meeting.
A third consideration and adoption of ordinances 1094 and 1095 was approved. The first is an ordinance amending provisions pertaining to water rates. The second was an ordinance amending provisions pertaining to sewer rates
A second consideration of ordinance 1096 - an ordinance repealing section 99.02 pertaining to special rates for sewer service charges was approved.
The council tabled the approval of proposal for professional services for water treatment facility from Fehr Graham.
A first consideration of ordinance 1097, an ordinance amending provisions pertaining to sewer rates was discussed. After July 1, City Administrator Chris Ward explained, "To remove the deficit partially would require the transfer of excess funds from the solid waste account into the sewer fund. However, directly onto the sewer account it cannot be applied to the actual cash flow rates according to the SRF and the Financing Board. However, the council does has the option of looking into other utilities and possibly lowering that possible rate. The staff has been looking into that."
Maynard explained that the goal is that even though it might show that the base sewer rate has gone up, another utility would go down the same amount. Ward went on to explain that everyone pays the same base meter rate. The idea is to lower one of these without causing a deficit.
Councilmember Ron Hessenius clarified that rates are still going to increase.
Maynard explained that this year it will show that it's going up from $20 to $30 from but another bill will drop by $10. The rates will start to increase in 2025-26 by about 5% each year after that.
The first consideration of Ordinance 1098 - an ordinance amending provisions pertaining to water rates was approved.
Sale of City Property
A public hearing was held on the proposed sale and transfer of city-owned real estate located at the North-South alley between the West 52 feet of Lots 2 and 7 excluding the railroad right of way, of Block 4 on the East and Lots 3 and 6 of Block 4 of the West Webbs Second, an Addition to Vinton, Iowa. A resolution scheduling the hearing on the proposed transfer and sale of the city-owned property to Dakoda Sellers for $850 was approved on January 31, 2024.
The council also approved a resolution obligating funds from the urban renewal tax revenue fund for appropriation to the payment of annual appropriation tax increment financed obligations which shall come due in the current fiscal year.
Jeanne Mann approached the council and asked for permission to sow some flower seeds in areas that have bald spots or where weeds are growing. She is considering dropping some Moss Rose seeds in areas like the "boulevard" on 4th St. So if you see some pretty flowers blooming, you can thank Jeanne for the idea! (I know a lot of little girls that will love this plan!)
Ward will be meeting on Friday at the airport to discuss trees that are growing on the property. He said that there is also a preconstruction meeting on the Wastewater Treatment Plant on the 15th at 1:00 p.m.
Community Garden sign up will begin on March 1. Chris Ward will be in charge of that. So contact him about this.
Craig Walker, Water/Wastewater Superintendent said that there are issues getting the radio transmissions that read the meters to work for in the Anderson Creek housing development. Because it's under East Central Iowa REC for electricity, the city has to find a workaround.
There was also a sewer issue under 3rd St. where the sewer had not been connected under the new street. Cameras were run to check it out and they will be trying to work with the contractor to get this taken care of if that's possible.
Vinton Chief of Police, Ted Paxton shared with the council that the department had training on using the new AEDs that the city received (see that story here.) He said that the new police vehicle will be ready to hit the streets he hoped in the next day or so. The vehicles have new and improved equipment and should add more legroom for the officers as well.
The mayor said that the city attorney is negotiating with the company that owns the cell towers on top of the water tower. Currently, they have a contract that runs until 2041.
Hobart, the company that now owns the Braille School property, asked to renegotiate the agreement with the city, the city attorney said that there would be little benefit in doing so. The city attorney will be looking into the agreement to see if there is anything that can be changed to benefit the city. Hobarts agreed to pay the attorney's fees.