By Steve Peterson
Hawarden Councilors voted unanimously for increased pay for the mayor and councilors’ roles effective after the next municipal election.
The raises, to take effect after the next elections in 2016, were approved by 5-0 councilors’ votes Jan. 22, Feb. 12 and made official with the 5-0 vote on Feb. 26.
The mayor will be paid $6,750 a year and the councilors $2,250 a year.
Mayor Ric Porter congratulated newly appointed Ireton Mayor Jim Lewis and new Administrator Carol Liston and said Hawarden looks forward to working with them.
“The employee reviews are all done. We plan to do them on an annual basis. They went very well and are good for management and the employee,” said Administrator Gary Tucker.
City officials added there has been an anonymous donation to assist the Rides shuttle service in Hawarden.
A farm lease of city-owned land was approved by a 5-0 councilors’ vote for Casey Westergard of Ireton for 71 acres. There are two parcels, one 54 acres near Hawarden cemetery; and another parcel of 17 acres near Bomgaars in the South Industrial Park.
“We received 13 bids from $100 per acre to $367 per acre. This will net the city $56,000 over what we had been getting in rent,” said Tucker.
A discussion was held regarding sidewalks on 16th Street.
The current preference is 6 feet wide sidewalks on 16th Street and south to the West Sioux High School entrance, which will be done during 16th Street Project work in the summer construction season.
Police Chief Mike De Bruin said nine parking violation tickets were written during the snowstorm of Feb. 24.
It was noted the public hearing for the Fiscal Year 2014-2015 city budget will be at 5:30 p.m., March 12 during the regular councilors’ meeting.
“In the utilities budget the main concern is wastewater and water rates. We’ll look at those rates after the budget process, on March 26. I don’t see any drastic changes. Overall the revenue is pretty flat. The state legislature gave commercial and residential property taxes a break but they’re back-filling that for now; that may impact us in the future as well as multi-dwelling units going from commercial to residential,” said Tucker.
Personnel savings include going from a full-time staffer to a part-time one for the cemetery; and not having an ambulance director. There could be a capital expense of an ambulance replacement.
Officials said Ricardo Topete was hired as a part-time employee to work at the cemetery.
Property tax estimate for FY 2014-2015 is $307,593; figuring a residential rollback 52.166; an agricultural rollback of 59.9334; $29,136 for agricultural land taxes; $5,068 for the Community Center at a rate of .13503; and $5,347 from the state for a backfill.
The Hawarden Public Library request is up from this fiscal year, said Tucker. However, at the Feb. 12 meeting it was determined by councilors to allow only a 1 percent increase.