Brenda Benedict, Sidney's deputy city clerk, earned a certificate naming her an Iowa Certified Municipal Clerk at Sidney’s City Council meeting on May 5.
The requirements for the certification include three years of experience and 50 contact hours from the Iowa State University Municipal Professionals Institute in addition to specialized courses from the municipal clerk curriculum and from the flexible curriculum.
“I have learned so much about city government through the certification process," she said. "Many of the courses are taught by city clerks, finance officers and city managers. They know exactly what we go through and can advise clerks above and beyond what is offered in the classes.”
In other business:
• Rick Allely with Ulteig Engineers, Inc., submitted a Waste Water Preliminary Engineering Report for a proposal to offer engineering services for the city’s lagoon project.
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Allely provided information to the council about the company’s scope of services, fees, reimbursable expenses and schedules. Council members are interested in the proposal and will take action at the next council meeting.
• Judy Braunschweig wrote a letter to the council discussing flower pick-up at the cemetery after Memorial Day.
“The past few years, volunteers from the Shepherd Frock Thrift Store and city employees picked up the flowers from the cemetery after Memorial Day," she wrote. "Unfortunately, as the years have passed, volunteers have gotten older, and we don’t feel we are able to provide physical labor for this project.”
Although the work will now fall to city employees to complete, Braunschweig indicated they could still provide a truck, a trailer and a driver so the council would not have to rent a dumpster.
• Sidney resident Nancy Houchin is concerned about a neighboring dog.
“We go out our back door, and the dog lunges at the fence and barks at us, and we’re afraid he’s going to go over the fence. We would like to build a privacy fence,” she said.
Councilwoman Anne Travis referenced Ordinance 55-08 and indicated the dog’s owners are in violation, so Houchin is within her rights to submit an application for a permit to build a fence.
However, the 6-foot privacy fence up on the side of her house would violate a city ordinance due to the length of the fence going past the front of her home.
Mayor Ken Brown said the city could first send a nuisance letter to the neighbor in question and the council would determine a solution following a response.
• Council members discussed updating a variety of city fees, as many had not been changed since 2015, and due to rising costs, it’s past time for increases.
In certain cases, the city is either breaking even or losing money on the fees that are being charged.
Councilmen Don Benedict and Justin Shirley will do some research, look at fees other cities charge and report back to the council.
• Brown shared with council members pictures of several areas of the square where the concrete is in disrepair on the sidewalks. Council members agreed it has become a safety issue and repairs will need to be made.
The council determined they would send out letters to businesses about the need for safety and indicate how the costs are shared between the city and the businesses.
Per budget constraints, the council’s hope is to repair some of the sidewalks this year and more sections next year.
• Council members are also considering replacing multiple handicap ramps with cast iron handicap ramps as the plastic ones are breaking. Brown said he would look into the cost and report back to the council.
• The council discussed the benefit of applying for the Boost Grant, the Rural Child Care Grant and the Rural Housing Readiness Assessment Grant as well as applying for a Thriving Community Designation that will help in obtaining further grants.
Brown said he would also be meeting with the city’s engineering firm, JEO, to determine funding streams for the city street projects.
• Council also discussed procuring a contract for engineering services on City Hall, the application of several grants and camera procedures for cameras at city hall.
The council passed motions to approve the following:
- Block Parties at the Gazebo Park on June 17, July 15 and August 19. The Sidney Brew is coordinating with the Park Board and hosting a block party before each movie night this summer.
- The resignation of Park Board member Hannah Volker.
- Hiring seven lifeguards for the city pool as requested by Rhonda Hobbie, pool manager.
- The purchase of five pagers and five chargers at a cost of $3,417.75 and updated SCBA bottles for $1,708.00 for the Sidney Fire Department. Funds will come from the EMS Fund.
- Paying $5,000 toward a new cardiac monitor for the fire department. Fire chief Dustin Sheldon indicated the total cost of the monitor is $38,000 but the department has a possible donor who is willing to pay the remainder of the amount. Funds will come out of fire department funds.
- The power pole agreement bill of sale with MidAmerican Energy.
- Moving on to the next step to put five of six city obtained properties out for bids. The council will advertise the properties and specify requirements necessary for the purchase of each property. City Attorney Bri Sorensen will write the necessary resolution to move forward.
- Hiring Snyder & Associates to work with the council on the Neighborhood Revitalization Planning Services. Travis said she was impressed by their representative and the lower cost factor. Shirley said he was happy with the details and amount of specifics the company went into through the proposal about the community and their idea about crucial public engagement.
- May 9 Minutes
- Payroll report No. 10
- May library claims
- Clerk’s April Report
- Casey’s General Store cigarette permit
The next Sidney City Council meeting will be June 12.