Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

February 10, 2012

City delays donation decision for Rathbun Lake Area YMCA

By Michael Schaffer - Managing editor
Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — The Centerville City Council Monday approved a resolution to contribute $2,000 in annual fees in planning support to Chariton Valley Planning & Development Council of Governments.

"The commitment (will be) used to secure or match other federal and state funding," stated Nichole L. Moore, CVP&DCoG executive director, in a letter submitted to the city.

CVP&DCoG serves Appanoose, Lucas, Monroe and Wayne counties.

The council took no action on the Rathbun Lake Area YMCA request for a $25,000 donation from Centerville.

Councilman Rob Lind, after listening to several individuals make the case for the donation, said they would have a better answer in the next two-to-three weeks as the city goes over its budget.

YMCA Executive Director Randy Groff said they serve more than 2,000 in Appanoose County and have 1,280 members. One out of 10 Appanoose County residents who participate at the YMCA receive financial assistance to pay the membership dues.

Groff said the YMCA is one of the only recreational facilities for all ages in the community. The YMCA benefits the community in other ways.

"Typically, recreation is in the top five as you're looking at individuals that tour your community and look at bringing a family here. It could be physicians, executives," Groff said. "Our mission is all about providing opportunities for healthy lifestyles in our community."

Groff said out of the YMCA's $300,000 yearly budget, $100,000 comes from fundraising in order to remain strong in the community. One-half has been raised so far, but the YMCA is coming up short by $50,000, based on things out of our control, he said.

"There's a number of reasons in our community why we don't see consistent support through membership programs," Groff said. "Therefore, we need to look at partners in our community to be there to support us."

The YMCA has four large donors: Mercy Hospital, Appanoose Industrial Corporation, Appanoose County Community Fund and Iowa Trust and Savings Bank. Appanoose County committed $10,000 this year to the YMCA.

Groff said in 2010, Centerville's recreation program was losing $16,000 per year. The city and the YMCA agreed to have the YMCA run the city's recreation programs.

In 2010, the city agreed to $13,000 and in 2011 to $6,000 in wellness funding. Centerville had no wellness funding scheduled for 2012.

Centerville Mayor Jim Senior called the YMCA "an absolute gem in our community."

Councilman Edwin Brand questioned Groff on why a non-profit that adheres to Christian values would approach the city for taxpayer assistance.

"You don't see a conflict between government funding and an organization with Christian principles?" Brand asked of Groff.

Groff said they accept all religions at the YMCA. He said Christian principles are part of the YMCA's values.

Lind said the city has an obligation to provide its citizens recreational opportunities.

Ann Young, representing Mercy Hospital, said a non-profit like the YMCA has to rely on donations to make a budget. Program fees alone to balance the budget would be too costly and no one would be able to afford the charges, she said.

The comments made during the Highway 2 and 5 lane configuration public hearing were more than two-to-one to keep it the way it is. At least 11 said they want to keep the current three-lane configuration through Centerville and five said they want to go back to four lanes

Centerville Mayor Jim Senior said the comments he has heard were all in favor of three lanes.

Some of the stated reasons for three-lanes were fewer accidents, better traffic flow, better access, better for emergency vehicles and safer.

Some of the stated reasons to go back to four-lanes were bumper-to-bumper at high traffic times, many near accidents and slow moving vehicles block traffic.

Many who spoke had something to say about Highway 5 south and the potential for problems when the new Wal-Mart store opens.

"That's an accident waiting to happen when you open that store," said one man who didn't identify himself.

An official with the Iowa Department of Transportation who attended the meeting said there are no plans at this time to change Highway 5 south near Wal-Mart.

In other action Monday:

•The council accepted multiple resignations: Joe Sharpe from the Airport Commission effective immediately, Jim Senior from the Drake Library Board due to conflict of interest and Angie Budeslich from the Municipal Housing Agency.

•The council made several appointments: Jay Rogers to fill Andy Woodrick's vacancy on the Airport Commission, Miranda Phelps to fill Jim Senior's vacancy on the Drake Library Board, Linda Miller to fill C.J. Hash's vacancy on the Centerville Municipal Waterworks Board, Virginia Padovan to fill O.R. Parks' vacancy on the Historic Preservation Committee and Ron Eggerman to fill Angie Budeslich's vacancy on the Municipal Housing Agency.

•The council passed a resolution authorizing a loan and disbursement agreement for up to $1.2 million in sewer revenue capital loan notes. The loan has a 1 percent or lower interest rate, according to Kim Crego, city clerk and commissioner of municipal services.

•The council approved the contract for the sanitary sewer pipe rehabilitation project phase IV to low bidder Municipal Pipe Tool Co., LLC based in Hudson, Iowa for $380,941.50. The next closest bidder was Insituform Technologies USA, Inc., based in Chesterfield, Mo., for $446,358.68.

•The council approved the request from Tom Gesualdo for a refund of liquor license fees resulting from the sale of Alibi.

•The council approved the tentative agreement for the 2012-2014 collective bargaining agreement for Centerville street and utility department employees. Now with final approval, city union employees are assured a 2 percent hourly wage increase effective July 1, 2012 and a 2.5 percent hourly wage increase effective July 1, 2013.

The council listened to:

•Ron Creagan on the need for a brush dump for yard waste since Appanoose County had found other uses for the facility the city had been using located near Mystic. Creagan said the city needs to look at other options and taking yard waste to the fairgrounds has to stop, he said.

Where the city decides to locate the brush dump would need Iowa Department of Natural Resources' approval, Creagan said.

The council's next regular meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 20 at City Hall.