Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1094204

Neighbors Growing Together | Apr 18, 2014

City OKs donation to auditorium

By Linda Wenger | Dec 19, 2013
At the beginning of the Washington City Council meeting Wednesday night, Mayor Sandra Johnson presented plaques to two outgoing council members and the city attorney for their service to the city. Standing from left are city attorney Craig Arbuckle, councilor Fred Stark, councilor Merle Hagie and Johnson. Seated are city administrator Brent Hinson and city clerk Illa Earnest.

The Auditorium Committee crossed one hurdle in the effort to apply for a $1.2 million Vision Iowa grant Wednesday night at the Washington City Council meeting. Committee co-chairs Jan Gallagher and Bob Youngquist presented their proposal to the council.

The council approved a resolution to contribute $15,000 over three years should the Vision Iowa Board award the grant on a 5-to-1 vote, with councilor Bob Shellmyer voting no.

Shellmyer said that $15,000 could be spent on sewage backup problems, potholes or a squad car.

Washington Economic Development Group Director Ed Raber told the council that the city of Washington and Washington County both need to contribute to the project in order for the grant to move forward.

The committee made the same presentation to the Washington County Board of Supervisors Tuesday. The board tabled action on the proposal until the next meeting, which will be held at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Dec. 23, at the county courthouse.

“Can we afford this?” asked councilor Fred Stark.

City administrator Brent Hinson said, “Yes.” He also said that spreading the donation out over three years would make the donation more manageable.

The council then turned its attention to a second resolution to set the strategic priorities for the city. The council held a work session on Dec. 11 to discuss the strategic priorities. At that time, the top two priorities identified were water system improvements, including a new water tower, and to begin the engineering design for the drinking water treatment facility; and to follow up on the municipal building space needs assessment study. The third priority is to maintain/improve existing parks, especially Sunset Park.

Councilor Bob Shepherd made a motion to table the resolution until the council’s next meeting.

“I’d like to go over it,” he said.

The motion was approved.

In other business, the council:

• adopted a resolution updating the city’s safety manual and return-to-work policy;

• began working on a “temporary encroachments” ordinance. This would address construction activity that encroached upon a street or alley rights of way;

• approved the mayoral appointment of Joe Nichols to the Airport Commission;

• and approved the mayoral appointment of Merle Hagie to the Planning & Zoning Commission.

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