Council looks at improvements to city facilities

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Improving city facilities seemed to be the theme of the April 2 Monticello City Council meeting.

     The council approved various projects associated with the Berndes Center, wastewater facility, and city ball diamonds.

     The city will accept bids related to improvements and/or repairs to the HVAC system inside the Berndes Center. Trint Adams with Next Generation Plumbing & Heating inspected the current HVAC system and found some issues related to the heating and cooling units, both the supply and return mechanisms.

     “The standards were not followed when the system was installed the way they should have been,” Adams offered.

     Specs on the project can be picked up at City Hall. Bids are due by April 18, with work completed before June 30. Payment will be made after July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.

     Also related to the Berndes Center, the council voted down amending a contract with Anderson Ladd, Inc. The amendment would have allowed the spending of an additional $2,340 to have a borderline painted around the gym floor in a separate color. The vote failed 4-1, with Council member Tom Yeoman voting in favor of the amendment.

     “It’s more cosmetic or aesthetic than anything,” said City Administrator Doug Herman.

     The council approved the hiring of Snyder & Associates (city engineer firm) to prepare a Wastewater Facility Nutrient Reduction Strategy, as well as a plan for the future of the city’s wastewater facility.

     “At some pointy we’ll need to make an investment and some improvements,” said Herman. “A plan would give us a better idea of what it could cost.”

     The city would pay Snyder $60,000 for both the study and a facility plan.

     “I’m in favor of a hard number and knowing what to expect,” voiced Mayor Brian Wolken.

     City Engineer Patrick Schwickerath said the nutrient reduction study is due to the DNR by Oct. 1, 2018.

     The city approved a new three-year agreement with MYBSA (Monticello Youth Baseball and Softball Association).

     “It’s taken quite a while to get this all together,” Herman said. “It’s been a lot of back and forth between the city, Parks and Rec and MYBSA and what everyone expects from each other.”

     The agreement outlines that the city/Parks & Rec would take on registration and the master schedule for the games and field use. MYBSA would be responsible for overseeing/setting the tournaments and running the concession stands.

     Along those same lines, Herman informed the council that registration numbers for youth baseball/softball are low. With competition of traveling tournament teams made up of kids of all ages, he said some communities restrict use of ball diamonds to just recreation leagues.

     “They don’t allow tournament teams to use their fields unless the kids are also on a rec team,” said Herman.

     MYBSA was in agreement to restrict field use if the council saw fit to do so. Tournament teams already pay $30 to use the fields, which goes toward maintenance and upkeep. The policy would further restrict use to first- and second-grade tournament teams only.

In other city business:

     • The council approved amending city ordinances in regards to both the police chief and city administrator’s residencies.

     The police chief residency amendment would now be addressed by the chief’s individual employment agreement, not within the specific ordinance.

     In a letter addressed to the council, Chief Britt Smith explained that he is looking to reside off 150th Avenue in the Tuetken Addition. The current ordinance states the police chief must reside within city limits.

     In regards to the city administrator’s residency, the council felt it should be treated the same, within the employment agreement. That being said, they would like to see the city administrator have to pay some form of property tax.

     “The city administrator should be paying property tax,” voiced Council member Dave Goedken. “They should have some skin in the game.”

     Herman said he does own several properties in Monticello, including the former Culligan Total Water facility on John Drive. After Herman and his wife sold Java Jones, the couple purchased the facility. They also own property on Lake Delhi.



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