Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

May 9, 2013

Mayor names McMurry Citizen of the Decade

By Michael Schaffer Managing Editor
The Daily Iowegian

---- — Centerville Mayor Jim Senior awarded Enfys McMurry, of Corydon, not the Citizen of the Month but the Citizen of the Decade award Monday night during the City Council meeting at City Hall.

McMurry is the author of "Centerville: A Mid-American Saga," a book that compiles approximately 100 years of Centerville history into one softcover.

Senior declared McMurry, a native of Wales, an honorary Centerville resident.

McMurry said Centerville is like no other town in the United States. She called Centerville "an obsession of her life."

The Centerville City Council Monday night at City Hall accepted the resignation of police officer Shaun Houser, which went into effective May 3. Houser, on the Centerville Police force for 13 years, accepted a position with Rathbun Rural Water.

Police Chief Tom Demry said Houser will be sorely missed.

Chief Demry said he wants to hire two new officers but his department will need some financial support from the school district to fund the now vacant school resource officer position. If the school district doesn't come up with funding, Chief Demry said he would only be able to hire one officer.

The council granted Chief Demry's request to hire two new officers.

Chief Demry has picked Angela Widmer and Bryan Baum, the top two candidates from a certified Civil Service list, to hire. Both are scheduled to start May 20.

"All of our applicants were really good but these two really kind of worked their way to the top," Chief Demry said.

Houser, who was on the drug task force, will have that position filled by a current police officer and one of the new hires will fill in at patrol while the other fills in the vacant school resource officer position.

Baum is from the Ottumwa area, played baseball at Indian Hills Community College and has worked for some time at the Appanoose County Jail, Chief Demry said.

In other action:

Both Safe Routes to School project agenda items were passed 5-0.

The SRTS project consists of 8/10's of a mile long six-foot wide concrete sidewalk on South Main Street from Cottage Street to Lane Street. The project is estimated to cost $344,400 with Centerville kicking in $84,800.

Construction on the SRTS project is expected to start in September and finish by December.

The council voted to allow the Chamber to hold WineFest June 8 on the Appanoose County Courthouse lawn.

"It's a good event and it does bring people in," Joyce Bieber, executive director Centerville-Rathbun Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, said.

In an unrelated issue, Bieber talked about the metal benches on the sidewalk around the Centerville Square and the desire to move some and flip some. Bieber asked the council to allow volunteers to take some of the benches and move them to the courthouse lawn and to turn around the rest of the benches so they face the buildings, something she said that was part of the original design.

"And we don't want to kick everyone off the Square," Bieber said, noting the original use of the benches was for shoppers as a place to rest. "The Square is more for the community to use and enjoy. It's not really intended for long-term ... loitering or spending hours sitting on the Square."

Input from business owners would help determine which benches would be involved, Bieber said.

The council voted to allow the volunteers to move and flip benches as they see fit.

A request from the city of Mystic to use Centerville's street sweeper died for the lack of a motion. Mystic officials didn't help their request when no one from the city attended the council meeting to give more information about the request.

The council hired Kendra Logan as the city swimming pool manager for 2013. Logan works at the Centerville Rathbun Lake YMCA.

Senior stated the search for a city administrator has netted 17 applications so far.

The council passed the second reading and waived the third reading of the ordinance deleting title 18 of the Centerville Municipal Code and replacing it with a new subdivision ordinance.

The council tabled the city's LOSST committee's recommendation on how to disburse the approximately $115,000 in unspent railroad funds due to be given back to the city.

The committee recommended the money be split three ways between capital improvements for the city park and city swimming pool and a donation to the YMCA.

The council is expected to address the refunded LOSST money from the railroad at their next regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 20 at City Hall.

The meeting adjourned at 6:59 p.m.