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Local News

March 22, 2012

Councilman lays into mayor, Airport Commission appointee

CENTERVILLE — The appointment of Bill McAfee to fill the vacancy of Wendy McElvain on the Airport Commission failed by a 3 no-2 yes vote Monday night and prior to the vote turned into a verbal confrontation.

Councilman Edwin Brand led off with a monologue where he targeted not only McAfee but also Mayor Jim Senior.

"I'm disappointed in you tonight for this," Brand said to Senior.

Brand contended the mayor should have done his homework on this appointment and gotten council input before making a decision.

Senior told Brand he was not obligated to seek council input before deciding on an appointment.

Brand said McAfee failed to serve out his full council term when he resigned after failing to win reelection.

"If he couldn't finish the job he had then why should we appoint him to another now, I believe?" Brand said. "I don't believe this appointment is a good fit and it doesn't serve the public's interest."

McAfee, in response, told Brand he resigned from the council in November of 2011 because he found out he had cancer.

The fiscal year 2012-2013 budget the Centerville City Council unanimously approved Monday contained requests from the Centerville Police Department, Drake Public Library and the Centerville Area YMCA for additional money to their budgets.

The CPD requested $45,000, Drake Public Library $42,000 and YMCA $25,000 in increases over last year's budgets. The council voted to give the library $30,000 and $10,000 to the YMCA.

Jamie Livingston, library director, said the cost of supplies, books and materials have all increased. And with the closing of the Iowa Workforce Development office in Centerville, more people are using library computers for job searches and to file unemployment, she said.

"We really need this money to be able to keep our doors open and to keep providing services for the community," Livingston said.

The Friends of the Drake Public Library want the money they give to the library to go for special projects and not toward operating expenses.

The council voted to allow the CPD to take out a short-term loan of $15,000. It is expected lower vehicle maintenance costs would cover the debt service for the loan.

The CPD is proposing to retire five patrol cars from its fleet and replace them with two new vehicles and one used vehicle purchased from the Kansas Highway Patrol.

"And then we would rearrange the remainder of our cars to get the best use out of them," Police Chief Tom Demry said, noting his department needs at least seven vehicles. "We don't ask for much, but we do have to have good vehicles to drive."

The two new patrol cars are expected to cost $74,000.

The city published their proposed budget for fiscal year 2012-2013 in a recent edition of the Daily Iowegian.

The estimated total tax levy rate per $1,000 valuation on regular property is set at $16.14813.

The published proposed budget lists 2011 taxes levied on property at $1,847,626. In FY 2012, that number dropped to $1,596,865. The 2013 budget estimates taxes levied on property to bring in $1,662,565.

Total revenues and other sources for Centerville in FY 2011 were $10,258,725. In FY 2012, that number dropped to $7,146,854. The 2013 budget estimates total revenues and other sources at $8,417,079.

In two years, city revenues and other sources has dropped nearly $2 million.

Total expenditures and transfers out for FY 2011 totaled $9,492,288. In FY 2012, the total was $7,047,816. The 2013 budget estimates total expenditures and transfers out at $8,113,576.

The council gave George Johnson, building and code compliance officer, authorization to inform Ames Environmental Inc., based in Slater, that they were awarded the contract to remove asbestos in the houses at 608, 612 and 614 Haynes Ave. Their estimate is between $8,000-$10,000 for asbestos removal for the three properties.

The council gave Johnson authorization to publish bids for demolition and removal of the houses at 608, 612 and 614 Haynes Ave.

Based on previous demolition and removal projects, Johnson estimated the cost to bring down the three houses on Haynes Avenue as high as $86,000. One other option includes using street department personnel and rental equipment.

"If we go private it's going to cost us more money," Johnson said. "But I would still like to have the bids out there."

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

A. I support the ordinance
B. I do not support the ordinance
C. Not sure
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