City preps for summer

Ashley Smith · Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Several visitors addressed city council members at Tuesday’s council meeting about preparations for upcoming summer opportunities in West Liberty.

Sandee Buysse-Baker requested assistance from the city for the downtown farmer’s market, which began this year on May 3.

“The markets run every Wednesday from 4 to 7 pm through October 25,” said Buysse-Baker. “We’re asking for the same as last year – the street closing at 2:30 pm to give vendors time to set up.”

The market will also receive city assistance with trash receptacles, roadblocks and cones as in the past.

Last year, some patrons suggested to add a temporary stop sign to increase pedestrian safety. Council members agreed that once the market starts to get busy later in the summer, a roll-out stop sign from the police department will be used as needed.

Janet Rees spoke on behalf of the West Liberty Area Arts Council about the Summer Music in the Park series.

“The series is scheduled for Friday nights, from July 28 to August 18,” said Rees.

“We tried to sandwich between the fair and school starting. We’ve planned four concerts for this year,” she said.

The council agreed to provide the concert series with access to Ron De Voo Park, including utility usage from electrical supply poles, as well as portable toilets and extra garbage cans.

“It’s nothing that’s been out of the ordinary from years past,” said Rees.

West Liberty Chamber of Commerce president Jens Zalzala was present to thank the council for their participation in the city-wide cleanup this year.

“It seemed like something the city needed,” said Zalzala.

“Going forward, it will probably be a yearly event. I would like to try it again next year to see again if there is this much participation again,” he said.

The council passed a resolution approving the purchase of bonds for the Maxson Street Improvement project.

Michael Hart, Vice President of Public Finance at Northland Securities, was present to explain some of the financial terms of the resolution.

After the resolution is passed, said Hart, it will be sent to the City’s attorneys, where it will be included in a lengthier document for a final resolution. That resolution will be on the agenda for the council meeting on June 1 of this year.

Some of the bonds will stay local to the West Liberty community through MidWest One and West Liberty State Bank.

“Between the two local banks, they took about a quarter of the bond issue, about $500,000,” said Hart. “A major component of your interest payment will be going to those banks.”

A second resolution approving the revision of the city employee handbook, which will go into effect July 1, passed unanimously. Liquor licenses for JB’s Grub & Pub, LLC and Maria’s Mangolandia, LLC were approved as well.

Other council business included an update from City Engineer Leo Foley on the status of the Waste Water Treatment Plant improvement project. The plant is scheduled to begin operation on June 6, and residents should start to notice an improvement in water quality soon after that date, said Foley.

“When it comes to cooking and drinking, I think they’re going to find the quality much better,” said Foley.

“You’re going to have water within the standards of what’s considered soft water,” he said. According to Foley, the softer water should improve the average lifespan of residents’ water heaters.

The council also approved the annual audit report and the annexation study presented by HBK Engineering at the previous council meeting. City Manager Lawrence McNaul emphasized that the council was approving the study on costs and benefits of annexation, not the annexation process itself.

A re-plat of lots 25 through 29 in the Elder Ridge subdivision was approved unanimously.

“We’re just opening up more lots for development,” said McNaul. “Because it’s within our two-mile zone of city limits, state law requires that it go through the city council for approval.”

In miscellaneous business, council member Melody Russell provided updates on the West Liberty Downtown Task Force.

“The task force now has a Facebook page entitled Historic Downtown West Liberty,” said Russell.

“Their goal is to have an activity once a month that brings attention to the downtown area, as well as support other activities that other organizations that have planned,” she said.

A council work session is scheduled for May 16 at 6:30 pm to discuss options for updating the city website.
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