Council learns of City projects

—A23, Jackson St. completed 2023, Bridge in 2024
LIME SPRINGS - Engineer Drew Weber of Bolton & Menk gave an update on some of the city’s big street projects during the City Council’s March 7 regular monthly meeting.
Jackson St. will be one of the first projects being completed this spring. The utility work was done last year, the rock was down. It will need to have final grading and final pavement installed. It will take 2-3 weeks, starting in early April, if possible.
In addition, the ditch grading and sod work on A23/Lincoln should also be completely finished this spring.
The City has been piggy-backing with the County on some of the projects that affect both, such as the A23/Lincoln Street project. 
Howard County is changing which year they will be working on A21/W. Merrill St. from Highway 63 to Center St. (now 2025) and E. Merrill St. through the bridge and East/Main St. (now 2024). Council agreed to go forward with the projects that coincide with the county projects.
• Weber explained he is looking at the next steps with the Upper Iowa Beef expansion and wastewater treatment. 
The water tower storage is another issue to look into. “The current storage gets turned over more than it should now.” There are several options, including looking at a loop or ground storage.
The engineer went on to say that with Upper Iowa Beef involved, they might bring more dollars to the projects. “Not every community your size has a user as large as Upper Iowa Beef.”
Mayor Brian Johnson added, “And they are willing to help. We’re looking at every option to keep this as economical for the residents as we can.”
• Hawkeye Sanitation’s Lucas and Julian Merritt presented a new contract for garbage and recycling. Lucas stated the cost for using the new totes will be just $2 more for each garbage and recycling. “Standardized dumpsters are actually going down in price, from $30 per cu. yard to $20.35.”
The brothers noted the need for the totes is the semi-automatic trucks the company is purchasing. Their main reason for going semi-automated is trying to find employees.
They will submit a revised contract for the April meeting.
• Rusty Overland Engineering, who is associated with Dollar General, requested to be on the April 4 agenda. Howard County Business & Tourism Director Jason Passmore gave some input on the possibility of getting the chain store in Lime Springs.
He noted it would be in the best interest of the council to get the proposed property (just south of Upper Iowa Beef) annexed to the City before any property changes hands. 
Passmore suggested, if it happens, to make the contractor for Dollar General put in a frontage road and water and sewer extending to the south end of the property.
• There were no Fire Department or Community Center reports.
• Eddie Miller gave an update on the Library. He noted there are 12 participants in the Warm Reads program, which ends March 31. The Story Hour Valentine Party had five children attend, while the kids games and special movie events each had two.
Patrons served from town were 168 and 146 for the country.
• Laney Frazer reported the tentative opening date for the pool is May 27, with closing on Aug. 16. The board is continuing to work on the Emergency Plan and making a diagram for fire exits.
Pool hours are changing back to the times of a few years ago — 1-5 and 7-9 p.m. “This allows us to schedule lessons and possibly water aerobics from 5-7 p.m.,” Frazer explained. She added lessons are planned for June 12-16 and 26-30, with the week of the fair in between. “We are getting lessons done earlier, because we lose guards later in the season.”
Lessons are $140 per family and $75 for individual. Before the pool opens, the price is cheaper.
The Mother’s Day luncheon fund-raiser will be May 13, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
“Coaches are needed for softball. We have people who can help, but don’t want to be head coach.”
• Public Works Director Tyler Smith reported the DNR had been in Lime Springs twice — once for wastewater survey and once for water inspection. The aerators continue to be a problem. Two of them are still frozen. “I try them every day,” he said.
“I told them about working something out with the beef plant. They want a plan of what will happen in the future.”
Smith watched a video on rehabbing lagoons. Council person Richard Cottrell said, “I’ve been bringing this up. This blower system . . . we need a blower system down there. This town cannot afford to build a new wastewater treatment plant.”
Smith said, “It all depends on what the DNR tells us to do.”
Engineer Weber stated, “The blower system would handle the current status, but nothing in the future, with or without Upper Iowa Beef being involved.”
Mayor Johnson mentioned getting a steel storage container for equipment. Council person Michael Leverson asked, “Is this a short term fix to a long-term problem?”
The City lost garage space with the library expansion and has been looking for a storage solution for the past year.
Smith said the tractor lease was coming due. He will look into different options.
• A help wanted ad will go in the paper for a deputy clerk, as Maxine Stockman gave her notice.
• A safety audit was held for insurance purposes. City Clerk Jane Tibbals said it was emphasized to have safety manuals and documentation.
• Council approved a SRF Water Revenue Loan for up to $504,000.
• Because of a recent change to the property tax law, all cities are looking at less money coming in. For Lime Springs, that amount is $2,927, which is about 2% less than first anticipated. This affected the property tax money between the five entities and the general fund. Tibbals gave an example of how much less each department would receive if the 2% was taken from all.
That turned out to be a difference of $120 less for the community center, $240 for fire, $460 for library, $140 for parks, $420 for pool and $1,547 for the general fund.
Council members Cottrell, Leverson, Jeff Burnikel and Mary Bielefeld all voted aye to split the difference equally. Jennifer Kalstabakken voted nay, saying the entire amount should be taken out of the general fund, since the entities had already been told what their supplement from the City would be. 
• A public hearing is set for the next meeting, on April 4, to amend the 2022-2023 budget.

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