Council amends ball field usage agreement

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Due to public comment regarding action the Monticello City Council took during its April 4 meeting to limit the use of city ball diamonds, the council took action on April 16 to modify the usage agreement.

     The previous agreement required youth in second grade or under to participate in city rec leagues if their private tournament teams desired to use the city fields for practice and games. The council chose to hold off on stipulating usage until Jan. 1, 2019. At that time, youth in grades first through fourth will be required to participate in rec leagues in order for their private teams to have field access.

     The council’s previous action was per recommendation of the Parks and Rec Board and MYBSA (Monticello Youth Baseball and Softball Association).

     City Administrator Doug Herman noted that the problem is that parents are putting their children into traveling/private teams younger and younger. This takes participation away from city rec teams, and they struggle to gain enough kids.

     He added that coaches and parents for traveling teams who are also involved in MYBSA expressed surprise in the decision to limit ball field use. Herman said some comments have been related to lack of notice with game schedules already in place.

     “The opinion from those on the outside is that they would have liked more notice,” Herman said. “I can understand that.”

     The Parks and Rec Board is not opposed to delaying the limitations for one year, “with this year’s coaches being strongly encouraged to promote participation of their traveling team kids in rec leagues.”

     Parks and Rec Director Jacob Oswald said they have 36 kids out for baseball and 28 in softball for this year, which are good numbers. He said private teams don’t seem to be negatively impacting the rec leagues this year.

     Council member Johnny Russ asked whether it was a requirement for parents and coaches to volunteer in the concession stand, or if tournament entry fees were reimbursed for that volunteer time.

     MYBSA board president Josh Brenneman said parents are highly encouraged to volunteer, but they can’t require it.

     Russ also asked if MYBSA had plans for the profits from the concession stand. Brenneman said they don’t have specific purchases in mind right now, but have a list of facility updates for the future.

In other city business:

     • The council held a public hearing and approved the first reading to re-zone property owned by R&R Realty, located at 324 and 326 W. Second St. from R-2 two-family residential to R-3 multi-family residential. This change is for the construction of condominiums.

     • The council tabled action on approving a maintenance agreement between the city and to county concerning several shared roadways. The issue with the council deals primarily with 190th Street, just after the park-and-ride structure on S. Main Street, past Karde’s 151.

     • The council approved the extension of John Drive, where the new county JETS transportation facility is located. The street will extend by roughly 62 feet.

     • The council approved an agreement between the city and HDR Engineering, Inc. to facilitate an updated master plan for the Monticello airport. The bid came in at $165,651, of which the FAA will cover 90 percent, with the city covering roughly 10 percent through airport revenue.

     Herman said the five-year airport plan calls for an extension to the runway. He explained the FAA won’t help fund that project unless the master plan is shown to be updated.

     • The council approved the second reading to amend the ordinance related to the police chief’s residency, choosing to include the residency restrictions within the chief’s contract, not within the ordinance.

     • The council tabled action on the second reading of the ordinance related to the city administrator’s residency, preferring to leave the language as is stated in the current ordinance.

     Council member Dave Goedken commented that under Herman’s definition of a residency, he would soon maintain a residence at his property on John Drive.

     “I bought a building in town and the plan was to create a residence and stay between both of our residences,” Herman said, referring to property his wife and he own on Lake Delhi. Herman explained that in the definition of a “residence” under Iowa law, “a person can have many residences.”

     Goedken said in the event the council has to hire a new city administrator, he would like to require the individual to live in town. “Based on the feedback I received, the city administrator needs to have residence within the city so they comply with the rules they’re interpreting and creating,” he said.



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