Council approves new MPD vehicle for propane conversion

Posted April 10, 2013 at 12:36 pm

City Council

By Kim Brooks, Express Editor

A special Monticello City Council meeting was held on April 8 to review a site plan for the Monk property located at 653 N. Cedar St.

Planning & Zoning met prior to the special Council meeting and recommended approval of the site plan. City Engineer Patrick Schwickerath also reviewed the site plan. Areas of note to the plan include 12 parking stalls, with one designated as handicapped. The stalls are to be 9 by 18 feet. The sidewalk towards the street is designated as public, which means the stalls cannot extend into the city right-of-way.

The Monk family is proposing to build a six-plex at that address. Zoning has been changed to R-3.

The Council voted to approve the site plan.

Also related to the Monk project was potential approval to amend an ordinance pertaining to front yard setbacks in pre-1996 developed areas of the city. The Council had the option to approve both the second and third readings or just the second reading at tonight’s meeting.

The city code currently requires setback at 25 feet. Monk proposes lining his development up with adjacent properties in the N. Cedar Street area at about 18 to 19 feet off the ROW.

The Council voted to approve both the second and third readings at once, which failed. A vote to approve just the second reading passed. The third reading will be presented to the Council at the April 15 meeting.

The Council discussed the purchase of a 2012 Dodge Charger for the Monticello Police Department. This vehicle will be a trial run for the free installation of a propane conversion kit, a $6,800 cost savings, from AmeriGas. The cost of the Charger is $24,871. The purchase comes from a dealer in Urbandale.

Police Chief Britt Smith said this is one of the last two available Dodge Chargers in Iowa right now. He said it’s white and will be fitted with graphics to match the other police department’s vehicles in the fleet.

He said once the vehicle is purchased, it would be picked up by the installer and transported to New York. It’s anticipated to take two weeks for installation, and will then be returned to Monticello.

Smith noted that the city would not incur any additional costs associated with the conversion or transpiration to or from the installer.

The MPD would then be permitted to fill up with propane locally at AmeriGas.

The Council voted to approve the purchase of the Dodge Charger by a vote of 4-1, with Council member Bill Meyer opposing.

Resolutions, such as this, only need four votes to pass, as opposed to ordinances.

“I’m not in favor of out-of-town purchases,” voiced Meyer. “It doesn’t look right.”

Smith said, as he did at the previous Council meeting, that this was not his preference to buy out of town. “I’ve made that clear from the beginning,” he said. Smith added that in the long run, this purchase and conversion would save Monticello taxpayers money when it comes to supporting the MPD.

Council member Dave Goedken said the city has purchased many vehicles locally in the past for different city departments. “This is a free trial run,” he said. “We don’t want to turn $6,800 down.”

The Council also set a date for a public hearing on city budget amendments. The hearing will be held on Monday, May 6, at 6 p.m.