Improvement plan approved Monday evening
RIVERSIDE—The city council discussed having a survey done on the city’s utilities and approved the capital improvement plan (CIP) at the meeting on Monday, Nov. 18.
City Administrator Rusty Rogerson asked the council to approve the resolution to have a utility rate analysis done by Northland Securities.
“I talked to them about a utility rate study not only for where we are currently but where we will need to be in the next five years,” Rogerson said. “They have the skill and trained resources to do that for $2,000.”
Councilor Nate Kasdorf said he would like this to be tabled until after the first of the year or until the money was worked into the city’s budget for the survey. Councilor Kevin Kiene asked Rogerson why Rogerson couldn’t do the survey himself.
“I don’t have the time to do it,” Rogerson said. “They have the experience to do it. They do it for towns all across the Midwest.”
Rogerson reminded the council the money from the city’s utilities are enterprise funds and have to be self-sufficient. He said he thinks the information from the survey would be needed before the budget for the next fiscal year is certified.
Councilor Bob Schneider Jr. said he supported Rogerson’s request for someone outside the city to do the survey. He said it wouldn’t be fair to have the city employees do the survey.
Mayor Bill Poch agreed with Schneider. He said it was important to have an independent company come in and do the survey so there wouldn’t be any questions about the information the city is given.
Water and wastewater employee Ron Hembrey told the council he supported Rogerson’s request to have Northland Securities survey the city’s utilities.
“This is being driven by the Iowa DNR [Department of Natural Resources] that says every utility needs to be a viable, sustainable entity, which means it can run on its own,” Hembrey said. “It doesn’t have to rob Peter to pay Paul, whether it’s coming from the general fund or vice versa.”
City deputy clerk Lory Rogers said that for the past seven years the $980,000 revenue bonds borrowed for the water and sewer plant. The payment of $265,000 for the revenue bonds hasn’t come out of the water and sewer fund; instead it’s been paid from the general funds.
“So there again we’re using the casino money to fill in the gaps when we should be using our utility rates for that stuff, because they are supposed to be self-sufficient,” Young said, “self-supporting, which they have not been.”
Kasdorf asked where the money for the survey would come from in the current budget. Young said it could be taken out of the water and sewer reserves or it could be tied into the city’s comprehensive plan.
A motion was made to approve the resolution. It passed unanimously.
The council approved a resolution adopting the CIP plans.
In the contract six blocks of water mains will be replaced and several storm sewer projects will be done throughout town, said Hart Fredricks Consultant Benjamin Carhoff.
Carhoff suggested the council award the contract to KE Flatwork Inc. from Eldridge for $327,599.83. They underbid the projected cost for the CIP plan of $350,000. A motion was made to approve the resolution. It was approved unaminously.
In other business, the council:
approved the senior village to put together a committee to review the senior dining program in town and to survey their residents about the program;
reviewed Young’s request to pay her 84 out of 164 hours of vacation time she has garnered within the past year. A motion was made to do so but failed. Kasdorf, Kiene, and councilor Chris Kirkwood voting no on the request;
approved having city attorney William Suppel Jr. review the city’s vehicle junk ordinance for commercial and residential properties;
and discussed the employee handbook’s definition of pro-rated benefits for part-time employees. Schneider reminded the council a resolution was passed previously to approve paying city employee Becky LaRoche $2,716.26 for her medical and dental insurance stipend. After reviewing the employee handbook Sueppel said the handbook said insurance stipends were for full-time employees and part-time employees received stipends for leave benefits. A motion was made to follow the employee handbook and pay out pro-rated leave benefits for part-time employees. Kasdorf, Kiene, and Kirkwood approved it.
The next city council meeting will be held on Monday, Dec. 2, at 6:30 p.m.