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Local News

June 19, 2014

Council tables solicitation ordinance

CENTERVILLE — The Centerville City Council during Monday's meeting at City Hall tabled the second reading of an ordinance amendment to make it illegal to solicit money while standing in city streets.

The ordinance amendment adds section, "Soliciting Funds in City Streets," which prohibits any person to solicit funds when that person "must go into the traveled portion of the roadway (including medians or pedestrian walk zones) to obtain the funds solicited." The section also prohibits individuals from blocking or interfering "with the normal progress of traffic in order to solicit funds for any purpose."

The City Council passed the first reading of the revised ordinance during their June 2 meeting.

The decision was made to table the second reading and to schedule a special council meeting to allow the public an opportunity to voice their concerns. The council will determine the date of the special meeting during their July 7 regular meeting.

Members of the Centerville Lions Club were at Monday's meeting to protest the proposed changes.

Patrick Antonen, city administrator, Tuesday afternoon said he has heard from people in favor of the ordinance and people against the ordinance.

"There's been a lot of public push-back, both ways," he said. "It's a really tough decision. It'll be interesting to see what happens."

Solicitation of funds in a public right-of-way has been allowed in Centerville for many years and is common practice in other Iowa communities.

Councilman Jay Dillard argued no matter what is raised is it worth the loss of one life? Dillard used statistics to show how vulnerable pedestrians are while on the road in order to defend the proposed ordinance.

Also tabled until July was Centerville Mayor Jan Spurgeon's presentation of the Jim Senior Memorial Citizen of the Month award for June due to the recipient not being present.

The council approved:

• A request from Cathy Whisler with the Friends of the Oakland Cemetery to install a chime system and build a bell tower at Oakland Cemetery. Attending the meeting was Ed Skor, with Chime Master, who brought with him a demonstration model of the system to present to the council.

The Friends have almost solicited enough donations to pay for the project.

"It's really cool looking and really cool sounding," Antonen said. "I think it's a really neat touch for the cemetery to have."

• A request from Mason Whisler with the Friends of the Oakland Cemetery to work with and discuss a community columbarium at Oakland Cemetery. A columbarium is a place to store urns holding a deceased's cremated remains above ground.

The approval allows the Friends of the Oakland Cemetery to move forward and look at different design options.

The project is big enough it will be done in phases.

• A request from Fire Chief Mike Bogle to block off part of the Centerville Square for the Centerville Fire Department's car show on Aug. 2. The CFD car show is one part of the broader Planes, Trains and Automobiles event that day in Centerville.

• A request from Robert Schwering for a liquor license for Stiffez Sports Bar at 301 W. State St. The bar will be allowed to open as soon as a few code violations are dealt with. The bar will have to install a closed-curcuit video system.

• A request from Lora Kelly with Relay For Life to use the city-owned former Iowa National Guard Armory for the Relay in case of inclement weather.

• A request from Nancy Huisman with Appanoose County Trails, Inc. to act as the fiscal agent for matching assets to Community Health grant application to the Wellmark Foundation grant program and to be the fiscal agent for a grant application to the Iowa Department of Transportation for the Iowa State Recreational Trails Funding program.

• A request from Joyce Thomas and Bev Jewett with the Levee Committee for Improvements to allow tree planting on Elm Street on each side of South 18th Street.

In other news from Monday's meeting, it was announced the city's new web site is now online at It has the same web address but is a redesign by Golden Shovel in conjunction with Appanoose County and Appanoose Economic Development Corporation.

Newton-based Jasper Construction is in town working on the Safe Routes to School project building retaining walls on South Main Street. In the near future they will start on the sidewalk itself.

The council in December of 2013 awarded Jasper Construction the project with a bid of $348,188.75. for phase one.

Safe Routes to School is a nearly mile-long, six-foot wide concrete sidewalk on the west side of South Main Street from Cottage Street to Liberty Street (excluding the sidewalk in front of the YMCA). Six-foot wide sidewalk will also be constructed on the south side of Francis from South Main Street to the existing sidewalk leading to Lakeview School, on the south side Cottage Street from South Main Street to the entrance of Lakeview School and on the north side of Terry Street from South Main Street to South 11th Street.

Approximately 4,360 feet (0.83 miles) of sidewalk will be constructed and 30 pedestrian curb ramps will be installed to meet ADA compliance requirements.

Two storm sirens have been ordered and should be delivered within the next four weeks and then installed. The system should be up and running by the end of summer.

One siren will be located near the city's street department building on Franklin Street by the fairgrounds. The other will be located at Cottage Street and South Main Street.

The council will hold a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 25 to pay fiscal year end bills.

The 5:30 p.m. meeting adjourned at approximately 7:30 p.m. The next regular Centerville City Council meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Monday, July 7 at City Hall.

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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
     View Results
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