Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

May 23, 2013

Show me the money

By Michael Schaffer Managing Editor
The Daily Iowegian

---- — Beginning next fiscal year Centerville will have approximately $115,000 in returned Appanoose County Railroad Local Option Sales and Service Tax funds to use.

The Centerville City Council Monday night wasted no time and voted to award $20,000 of those LOSST funds to the Rathbun Lake Area YMCA and $30,000 to city parks.

Peggy Johnson, the interim YMCA executive director, and Justine Heffron presented the YMCA's request for $20,000 to replace the building's boiler, air handling unit, control systems and youth sports equipment.

"Thank you very much," Heffron said. "We so appreciate it."

Nancy Huisman presented a request for $30,000 for city parks to develop a park master plan that can be shared with the City Council and Centerville residents. The concept of a master plan is to bring together all of the ideas into one conceptual presentation.

The master plan shouldn't cost $30,000 and any money left over would go toward playground equipment, infrastructure and esthetic improvements, Huisman said.

"And once we have a plan in place that we can bring to the public and bring to the council, then whatever money is remaining we'll start putting toward playground equipment or getting contractors in to start doing grading, that kind of thing," Huisman said, noting they made the request now so by July they would be ready to make the improvements rather then just entering the planning process.

Huisman is a member of the nonprofit Friends of Centerville Parks, whose primary mission is to fundraise and volunteer. She said they would not be accepting or spending LOSST funds and was unsure if the city park board or city park committee would oversee the funds.

The ballot language used to approve the transfer of LOSST funds to the railroads states any unused funds can be used for any lawful purpose.

In a related matter, Councilman Rob Lind said the city believes it can go ahead with a new swimming pool in 2014 but the kids would need a place to swim that summer. Lind offered the city would be willing to work with the YMCA, like hire extra staff, during the summer.

"We would be happy to help," Johnson said. "We would be willing to work with you anyway we can."

The council in other action approved:

• An amendment to the fiscal year 2013 budget, which ends June 30. The amendment lists additional revenues and expenditures and adds $73,870 to the coffers.

• The resignations of Jason Raskie from the Water Department and Marcia Meller from the Drake Public Library Board of Directors.

• A resolution and set salaries effective immediately for Centerville Police Officers Angela Widmer and Bryan Baum both at $17.50 per hour at 40 hours per week.

• The Historic Preservation Corporation's request to hold the Children's Art Festival on the Courthouse lawn June 29 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

• The plans for Phase 1 of the Safe Routes to School project. The city's estimated cost for the project stands at $99,999.

SRTS construction could start as early as September but must be completed by April 30, 2014. It depends on who gets the contract and when they want to start, Huisman said.

• The mayor to sign an engagement letter with Ruan Securities to refinance 2011B and 2003 general obligation bonds.

• Monday, June 3 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall to hold a public hearing to authorize a loan agreement and issue not more than $1 million in general obligation refunding capital loan notes series 2013.

Centerville should expect a savings of approximately $15,000 from the refinancing.

Monday's meeting adjourned at 6:48 p.m.

The next Centerville City Council meeting is 5:30 p.m. June 3 at City Hall.