By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
There was much disagreement during the June 18 City Council meeting concerning funding for the library’s extended hours. At the last Council meeting, the Council vote to fund the library’s extended hours with $7,000 failed, 3-3. Mayor Dena Himes requested the Council reconsider a resolution for $3,500 of additional funding to the library for extended hours in FY 2013. The funding would be appropriated to the library from the city’s general fund.
The library would have to match the $3,500 from their own funding to allow for the extended hours the library board discussed: Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays till 3 p.m.
The city funding would run from September 2012 through June 2013, at which time the library would judge whether increased hours were a success.
City Administrator Doug Herman explained that the city has $400,000 to $500,000 in cash reserves in the general fund.
Council member Bill Meyer said he didn’t see why the city had to kick in additional funding when the library has funds of their own. Himes explained some of the library’s funds are strictly designated as to what the money could be spent on.
“A vote for this is a vote to increase taxes,” expressed Council member Dave Goedken. “How much essential services are there? Are we using taxpayers’ money so people can play video games?”
Herman said the library, aquatic center and parks and recreation are all services to the public, that don’t exactly make a lot of money. He said these are beneficial services to the citizens here and potential citizens who could move to town.
“Our return on investment is people using these services,” said Herman.
Goedken asked why the library couldn’t extend hours by opening later in the day, equaling out the amount of time they are open.
“They should consider changing their hours and work swith the money they have,” suggested Goedken. To that comment, Council member Tom Yeoman agreed.
When it came down to a vote, the Council approved a resolution for additional funding for the library in the amount of $3,500 by a vote of 4-2, with Goedken and Meyer opposing.
The Council also approved wage increases for library staff, library director and the police department at 2.5 percent.
In other city business:
• The Council approved the second readings of both the water and sanitation rate changes. The city is looking at across-the-board rate increases of 3 percent and a flat fee of 50 cents per account to allow for additional future expenses such as equipment purchases and replacements. The changes will go into effect on the August billing cycle.
• The Council approved to enter into a contract with ECICOG to administer flood property demolitions and buy-outs, concerning six residential properties, one lot and three commercial buildings. The cost would not exceed $18,000 related to demolitions, and $15,000 related to acquisitions of the properties.
Herman said he was initially going to take on the task, but with all of the paperwork to manage and hoops to jump through, he felt the process was better handled by another agency equipped to do so. Allowing ECICOG to handle the process will speed up the any delays.
• The Council accepted bids for a new pumper truck for the MFD. Three bids were received. Monticello Fire Chief Mark Stoneking recommended the city go with Toyne, Inc. in the amount of $192,244.
• There was some discussion on the city picking up yard waste versus tree waste from people’s yards and properties. Herman asked the Council whether the city needs to schedule certain days designated to yard waste and/or tree waste. Diz Edwards, Public Works director, said the city’s waste center is open to the public to haul their own tree waste during certain hours. The Council felt the city still needs to provide both waste pick-up services.
• Mayor Himes presented some information to the Council on a county food cooperative program that could potentially be in Monticello, working with the farmers market. She said a small group has already begun discussing the idea, and they are looking for people interested in being on the steering committee.