Councilors stand behind walking trail plan

Posted February 21, 2013 at 6:00 am

by Steve Peterson

Hawarden councilors moved forward with their plans for a walking trail from 10th to 16th Streets along Falcon Drive and West Sioux Community School District property at their meeting Feb. 13.

By not making a motion to stop the project, councilors gave their support to allow it to continue.

“The most important thing is the safety. I think the sidewalks are more important than the street projects. Kids have had to ride their bicycles in the city street. I’m definitely in favor of it. The school has been there 50 years and should have the sidewalk,” said Councilor Tim Kurth.

“The walking trail is a continuation of a 10-year plan, from 16th to 10th, to tie in the existing trail,” said Mayor Ric Porter. “It has to be eight-feet wide due to the federal grant.”

“There was one question if other citizens had their right-of-way impacted,” he said, “and there are impacts such as the walking trail to Calliope Village.”

“The walking trail will continue into the future, tying into the Big Sioux Recreation Area and possibly Oak Grove State Park,” said Porter.

If a grant was not used, then it could be narrower, said Administrator Gary Tucker about the city’s $100,000 Department Of Transportation grant.

A different site would mean “starting over” with the grant process, said Tucker.

“You need a motion to stop the project, not to keep it going,” said Porter. No motion was offered.

A petition was received at the Jan. 23 councilors’ meeting from residents who live near the walking trail and sought an alternative location and voiced other concerns.

West Sioux School Board voted Feb. 4 to transfer land to the city for the trail. Grades 6-12 Principal Ryan Kramer sent a letter of support for the project.

In other city matters:

• Police Chief Mike DeBruin said the city, through a court decision, has acquired title to the vacant Soo Motel property.

“We will be able to tear it down in March,” said DeBruin.

City Attorney Jim Pickner worked on obtaining the title at the court session.

FY 2013-2014 Budget

The council discussed the city’s General Fund and Special Fund budgets for FY 2013-2014.

A resolution adopting a final proposed budget for publication was to be considered with the public hearing on the budget set for Feb. 27 at 5:30 p.m. Councilors approved budget-related matters by 4-0 votes.

The city’s estimated total tax levy rate per $1,000 of valuation on regular property is $14.51291 and the estimated tax levy rate per $1,000 valuation on Agricultural land is $3.00375.

The budget for FY 2014, from June 30, 2013 to July 1, 2014, is $17,402,596 in revenue and other sources. Property taxes account for $577,212; Tax Increment Finance revenues, $458,561; other city taxes, $301,185; licences and permits, $24,675; Use of money and property, $22,700; intergovernmental, $470,957; charges for fees and services, $13,796,203; miscellaneous, $29,500; and other financing sources, $1,721,603.

Expenditures include Public Safety, $652,614; Public Works, $395,416; Health and Social Services, $300,000; Culture and Recreation, $393,399 Community and Economic Development, $113,454; General Government, $108,112; Debt Service, $239,993; Capital Projects, $1,164,721; total government activities expenditures, $3,368,709; and business type-enterprises $14,299,297. All expenditures were expected to total $17,668,006.

The city’s ending fund balance as of June 30, 2014 is expected to be $8,383,357 as compared to $10,234,370 last year.

“We’ve been able to maintain the same tax levy rate as last year, transfers are down and we feel we have done a great job putting together a very solid budget,” said Tucker, complimenting the staff.

Electrical Upgrade Plan

Councilors approved setting a time for bid openings for the second half of the Phase I of the Hawarden Municipal Electric Upgrade Project for 5:30 p.m. on March 27 at Hawarden City Council Chambers during a councilors’ public meeting. They will open the bids March 14.

Central Ave. Contract

The council held a public hearing regarding the form of contract, estimate and cost for the 2013 Central Avenue Improvement Project, which will be from 10th to 16th Streets. No public comment was received.

Steven Harris Construction won the bid for a total of $517,855.63. The councilors’ vote was unanimous.

“We received eight bids total which was good. I could not believe the low cost of concrete, the lowest it has been in eight years. Harris is a good firm and we’ve worked with them in the past,” said engineer Wayne Schlotfeldt. “That is significantly lower than what we had anticipated, 25 percent lower. The first two bids were very close. It is nice to save a lot of money. We also want to make sure we have a contractor that is capable. Harris has done projects in town and they do good, quality work.”

Because of the lower price, some added work may be included and the assessments will be lowered, said Tucker. “We would not be able to do assessments for the additional work, though.”

“You can expand or contract the project up to 25 percent without obligation to the bid prices,” said Schlotfeldt.

There will be meetings set up with impacted property owners, he said.

“Those that are being assessed will see their assessments decline by 25 percent,” said Tucker.

Also at the meeting, councilors:

• Approved unanimously a resolution authorizing the sale of a dump truck as surplus property to the City of Chatsworth.

• Approved a request from Hawarden Dollar General for a cigarette-tobacco permit through June 30, 2013. Also approved was their renewal of a Class C beer permit for off-premise sales of beer and wine with Sunday sales.

• Approved a request from Hawarden Golf Club Inc. for a new 12-month Class C liquor license for on-premise sale of beer, wine and liquor with outdoor service and Sunday sales.

• Approved a request from Brian Engleman of Sportsman’s Lanes and Lounge for a liquor license transfer to Hawarden Community Center March 2.

Mayor’s Report

“I congratulate Patrick Birgess for being named the Hawarden Firefighter of the Year for 2012. The honor is voted on by his peers.

“Also congratulations to the fire department members for their longevity awards: Jon Strong for five years; Jason Anderson for 10 years; and Randy Ballard and Darrell Westra for 20 years. Our thanks to the fire department members for their dedication, and the community.”

Porter also congratulated West Sioux junior Jose Montes for qualifying for the individual state wrestling meet in Des Moines, in the 113-pound weight class.

He also congratulated senior Rachel Nilson who was selected to sing the National Anthem at the boys’ state basketball tournament at the 1:00 p.m. session March 6 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. This is Nilson’s second selection to sing the National Anthem. She also did so at the state wrestling tournament last year.

West Sioux boys’ and girls’ basketball teams won their first post-season games, Porter noted.

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