Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

March 6, 2013

Mayor's request for additional compensation ends in tie vote

By Michael Schaffer - Managing editor
Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — The Centerville City Council at Monday's meeting at City Hall voted 2-2 to a request made by Mayor Jim Senior for additional compensation for extra hours he worked the past few months since the absence of Kim Crego.

The agenda item failed to pass due to the lack of a majority vote.

Councilmen Rob Lind and Randy Marcussen voted for the request while councilmen Darrin Hamilton and Edwin Brand voted against the request for additional compensation of approximately $1,000. Councilman Richard Smith was not present.

Senior said he volunteered his time when he saw extra work pile up. Lind said he asked Senior to help out when he could.

"The additional work was there and I felt I needed to help," Senior said.

The council voted to accept the resignation of councilman Randy Marcussen, effective Feb. 24, and passed a resolution declaring their intent to fill the vacancy by appointment.

Individuals interested in the vacated council seat have until the morning of March 29 to bring a letter of interest to City Hall. The council during their April 1 meeting will appoint someone to fill the vacancy who will serve until the election this November.

In other action, the council:

• Accepted the resignation of Patricia Timmens from the Library Board and the resignation of Royal Simmons from the Historic Preservation Commission and appointed Neil MacArthur to fill Simmons' vacancy.

• Voted to hire one additional full-time person to fill a vacancy at City Hall to join the three other full-time employees: Joyce Davis, temporary city clerk, Judy Green and Deb Smith, both of whom, it was said, deal with water department issues. The city next plans to advertise the open position and accept applications.

• Awarded the cemetery and park mowing contract to Clipper Lawn Service at $3,481 per mowing. The company is required by contract to do 14 mowings.

• Passed a pre-negotiation resolution with Golfview Homeowners Association for a first amendment to agreement and resubmittal of application to the City Development Board for annexation into the city of Centerville.

Brad Grothe, Golfview Homeowners Association representative, said more than 90 percent have agreed to be annexed into Centerville, which the council approved in 2012. He said he was disappointed with the City Development Board's decision denying their annexation application.

"We look forward to becoming a part of Centerville," Grothe said.

In other, non-voting action:

Nancy Huisman, with Hall Engineering, delivered an update on the Safe Routes to School and street improvements project.

Huisman said Liberty Street is no longer part of the project because those sidewalks are in good shape.

The street improvements project is still in the design stages, she said.

Huisman sent a letter to the city announcing some federal Davis-Bacon compliance requirements have not been met with the sludge processing facility improvements project. If Davis-Bacon rules are not met it could jeopardize State Revolving Fund money for the project.

The letter states Davis-Bacon compliance "weekly payroll and interview forms have not been reviewed and certified," something the council decided in September of 2012 that they would be responsible for.

Huisman said contractor payroll needs to be documented on a weekly basis before the project closes out, which could be by the end of April.

"If it's not done and the city is audited you're in jeopardy of losing your funds," Huisman said.

The council tabled the agenda item until their March 12 special budget hearing meeting.

The council has the option of hiring Chariton Valley Planning & Development to help the city fulfill its requirements with compliance checks. Based on information provided to the council, CVP&D has submitted a preliminary assessment to complete the work would require 640 work hours.

Lind pointed out that is two people for eight weeks.

"That's a lot of time," Lind said, adding the city was "blind-sided" by the deficiency.

George Johnson, city building and code compliance officer, updated the council on the property at 218 E. Jackson St. He said the front 1/2 is still standing.

Options include two companies that can do the work.

Johnson said Environmental Edge, based in Ottumwa, can do the job. The other company is based in Ames.

No action was taken while the city awaits a quote on building removal.

Lind asked if the city could place a lien on the property with the hope it would keep other property owners from doing the same thing.

City attorney Mike Craver said the city could place a lien on the property or place a judgment on the property owner for any assets they may have.

"I don't think that we want to continue to keep adding parcels of land to the city's domain if we don't have to," Lind said.

Johnson brought up an interesting fact: Property owners who do keep their property in good order end up paying more in property taxes while those who allow their properties to decline end up paying less property tax.

Call it property tax equalization, where owners who let their properties decline are charged a surcharge.

Near the end of the meeting, Centerville Mayor Jim Senior awarded February Citizen of the Month to Rita Matkovich.

The meeting where approximately 22 attended adjourned at 6:44 p.m. The next regular Centerville City Council meeting is 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 18 at City Hall.