New Parks and Rec superintendent hired

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The Monticello City Council held its regular meeting on Feb. 6, approving Casey Reyner as the new Parks and Recreation superintendent of city parks and facilities.

     Jacob Oswald, newly hired Parks and Rec director, took part in the superintendent interviews, with three candidates showing interest.

     “Casey just stood out as the best fit,” remarked City Administrator Doug Herman.

     He said the hiring committee also recommended Reyner for the job. He is expected to start later this month.

     Prior to offering the position to Reyner, Herman said he and Oswald offered the superintendent position to current Parks and Rec Director Tami Bartram, wanting to give her one more opportunity to reconsider staying with the department. Herman said Bartram communicated with him that she was not interested in the particular position.

     Council member Dave Goedken addressed the social media rumors regarding the Parks and Rec changes.

     “I have heard from quite a few contacts out there, and there is a lot of false information on Facebook,” said Goedken. He explained the conversation to create two separate Parks and Rec positions started roughly two years ago when Bartram approached the city about hiring someone at 20 hours a week. “Everything you read on Facebook is not a fact,” warned Goedken.

     The superintendent job will be a salaried position with flexible hours. The starting salary is $40,000 with city employee benefits.

     With many people in attendance representing the new animal shelter in town, the council addressed amending the city’s Pitbull ordinance.

     The conversation stems from a letter the city received from Samantha Clemen on E. Grand Street. Clemen is asking the council to reconsider or loosen its ban on Pitbulls.

     “I grew up with Pitbulls and they are the most loving, happy dogs I have come across,” stated Clemen in her letter. “It would be a shame to single out one breed of a dog to an entire city.”

     Clemen even offered conditions the city council could include in the ordinance to allow Pitbulls as long as the owner has it muzzled while in public and/or on a short leash.

     Herman provided numerous facts, statistics, and news articles to the council for review regarding incidents involving Pitbulls and basic dog statistics from He urged the council to review the information and consider the facts before moving forward on changing the ordinance.

     He said one common theme throughout the articles he found is that the dog owners have stated that it was out of character for their dog (of any breed) to act out.

     “They can’t explain how something happens,” said Herman. “That’s true of any breed of dog.”

     He told the council that he did receive one phone call from an elderly female resident who was opposed to changing the Pitbull ordinance.

     Annie Locher, a city resident, dog owner, and animal shelter board member, expressed the shelter’s position on seeing the Pitbull ban lifted. Locher also felt that Clemen’s conditions were not out of line.

     She also asked the council to consider Pitbull mixes of a certain percent.

     “That can easily be done with a DNA test,” suggested Locher, leaving the cost of the test up to discretion.

     She said the new shelter receives Pitbulls quite often and it’s becoming harder to place the dogs into a loving home. She said the City of Anamosa also has the same ban.

     “For every negative story about Pitbulls, there are also good stories,” said Locher. “They are very loyal and loving to their families.”

     She explained that any dog or cat the shelter receives is treated on an individual basis, not by its breed.

     “We evaluate the animal as an individual,” she said.

     “We just hope you consider the information and make a decision accordingly,” asked Locher on behalf of the shelter.

     Council member Johnny Russ inquired as to whether the shelter takes in aggressive animals.

     “We do not adopt any animal with issues,” said Locher. She said they consult a trainer to help with the evaluation process.

In other city business:

     • The council set a public hearing on the approval of the Fiscal Year 2018 city budget: Monday, March 6, at 6 p.m.

     The council will also hold a budget work session on Saturday, Feb. 11, at 1 p.m.

     Within the proposed budget, property tax revenues are set at $1,013,526. This represents a $36,838 increase over FY ‘17, and an $85,284 increase over FY ‘16. (These figures include $38,000 in the state’s Commercial Backfill program.)

     Local Option Sales Tax for FY ‘18 is set at $300,000. This is $10,000 less than FY ‘17.

     The total General Fund Revenues are proposed at $1,760,021. Total General Fund expenses are proposed at $1,837,112, with $137,091 in excess expenses over revenues.

     • After two failed votes regarding whether or not the city’s north water tower should or should not have a city logo painted on it, the council agreed to move forward with the lowest bidder on the project: Utility Service Co. out of Georgia. Seven bids were received.

     The bids included: $390,400 for repainting the tower, but with no logo; $395,400 for one logo; and $399,400 for two logos.

     With no clear direction regarding a logo, City Engineer Patrick Schwickerath said he would communicate and start the initial paperwork with the contractor, but hold off on a final cost until the city makes a decision.


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