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Work progresses on aquatic center; no action on revising pet ordinance

By JIM MAGDEFRAU, Star Press Union editor

Belle Plaine City Administrator Bill Daily reported work is progressing well on the new aquatic center at the Belle Plaine City Council meeting Monday night. They had the second pour last Wednesday and another pour is planned this Wednesday.

A payment of $168,000 was approved to Ricchio Inc. for aquatic center work. The council approved a change order from Garling Construction for additional entrance area lighting for the aquatic center, at a cost of $19,706.

Also in his presentation to the council, Daily said, the city is still working on CAT funds for its streetscape project. Daily said it is a work in progress. A session was planned with the Vision Iowa board on Tuesday. They hope to move forward with an application. If they aren’t ask to apply, the city will probably progress on its own, Daily said. The first CAT grant application was denied earlier this year.

Other items presented by Daily were:

- Construction in the Longfellow school area has caused dust and dirt. The city is working on sweeping the area. The city is working with the school on a loading zone and snow routes at the school.

- The police grant for digital in-car video was approved through a sTEP grant.

- Daily said there are plenty of applications for the housing rehab program. One is completed and there are five applications. The city is funded for six houses. The city has until next July to complete the projects on existing homes.

Amendment for fostering animals fails

The council failed to pass the first reading of an ordinance that amends the city code to allow fostering of dogs and cats. According to the amendment, upon approval by the city, an individual may foster one additional dog or cat over the maximum allowed for 60 days. The applicant must show documentation from a recognized humane society, have a fenced yard and obtain a fostering license within five days of obtaining the animal. The chief of police may deny requests for the fostering license based on complaints. A Belle Plaine family has been interested in foster care for dogs. Garrison Reekers made a motion to approve the first reading. It died for lack of a second.

Janice Zumbrunnen, who was interested in fostering dogs, asked at the close of the meeting why the effort failed. She had given a presentation at the previous meeting on the benefits of her program.

Council member Harold Ealy explained the city had a major problem with pets in the past, and what citizens told him was that they didn’t want any more of it. He said, “We’re voted here by these people. This was their choice. That’s about all we can do.”

Other council members said citizens told them they were concerned about going over the three-dog limit. They stressed they had nothing against the program.

Council member Garrison Reekers, who made the motion, said he’d heard no negative comments and felt it was a good program.

Other business

Gina Trimble of Ridihalgh, Fuelling, Snitker, Weber and Co. presented the audit for the 2008-2009 fiscal year.

She said the city has paid off a lot of debt, plus issued some new debt. She added there is a significant deficiency in segregation of duties, but this applies to small towns across Iowa, saying the city does a good job not overlapping duties that shouldn’t be.

DeRycke said that overall the city is doing a good job. Trimble also commended the city for its work.

The council considered a bid of $14,000 from Expert Insulation for core foam exterior for block walls. The city’s share is $4,200 after a rebate of $9,800.

The board approved closing Main Street on Oct. 31, 5 to 7 p.m., for the city’s “Trunk or Treat.” Bill Daily stressed this in no way replaces traditional trick or treating in residential neighborhoods.

An agreement was approved with Al Dvorak for water meter reading.

An amendment was approved to the agreement with Anderson-Bogert Engineers & Surveyors Inc. The agreement originally dealt with the 13th Ave. Sanitary Sewer Service project. The amendment adds work for storm sewer replacement at 11th St. and Ninth Ave.

The council approved a bid from John Chekal, Belle Plaine, for the sale of the 1980 Chevrolet Van 30, which was a former fire department personnel carrier. The bid was $1,580. There were seven bidders.

UPDATED October 7, 2009 2:35 PM

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