Fire chief updates council on fires

LIME SPRINGS - Fire Chief Scott Osmundson reported at the Feb. 7 council meeting, the department had a very busy January. “We had two house fires in town (Derrick and Michelle Ruggeberg and Candace Peterson) and a mutual aid for an Amish wood shed.” 
The Ruggeberg fire was on a Saturday and only five firefighters were initially at the scene until Chester and Cresco fire departments were called for mutual aid. Chester was also called for the Peterson fire.
“The dance went very well. The LS Tap was very welcoming and accommodating.”
Council person Richard Cottrell asked about the start of the Ruggeberg fire. He had heard a space heater was involved.
Osmundson stated a space heater was present but was not the origin of the fire. “It was an electrical circuit to the refrigerator. Nobody was home, so it burned quite a while before it was seen. It tripped the breaker, but it was too late.”
The other fire started from a corn stove with an improper chimney.
• Eddie Miller updated council on the library events, including the Warm Reads for Wild Winter Nights program for February and March, a snowman contest, social event for adults, Lego Program, Valentine Story Hour and game fun. 
In November, there were 358 patrons served and 313 in December.
Pam Siegenthaler is a new part-time employee at the Library.
Miller said Phase II of the Library construction is ready to begin. He was asked the cost of the project. The Library’s council liaison Jeff Burnikel stated, “The contractor said it would be $59,878 plus a 10-15% increase, depending on cupboards.”
Miller stated the board had authorized $50,000 and then wanted to be informed as to how much work was left.
• Park & Rec Chairperson Sharla Lieder reported the pool is looking into some procedures and asked about tornado warnings and fire. “There is a tornado shelter at Spring Ahead Learning Center, but then we would have to transport kids. We are worried about liability.” The board is in talks with St. Paul Church to use its basement.
Board members were also concerned about having proper paperwork (mostly phone numbers) on all the patrons, especially children who come unattended by an adult.
A gate in the pool area was also discussed in case the concession/locker rooms were on fire. The current gate will be looked at before the pool opens.
“We are looking for a professional to paint the bottom of the pool. Nobody wants to tackle it for liability reasons,” she said.
“For the ball teams, we need coaches. We have helpers, but need coaches.”
• Council was given bids on lighting around the community center/fire station. The bid was for 13 lights to brighten the building, sidewalk and parking areas. The Community Club has offered to pay $3,000 of the $4,225 cost, leaving $1,200 for the city. The bid was approved.
• Public Works Director Tyler Smith said January had some snow showers so he has been busy moving piles and scraping slush.
The DNR does a sewer survey every few years, so he has been doing extra testing for renewal of the lagoon permit.
After a recent tour of Upper Iowa Beef, Smith and Drew Weber of Bolton & Menk engineering firm looked at the damage on Miller St. “We discussed grinding up and repaving the road. Drew said the problem is when you don’t have curb and gutter, there is an exposed edge that breaks off.” Weber will put together some figures to show council.
Smith attended a DNR meeting regarding documenting every service line in town by October 2024.
“They are mostly interested in lead piping, so anything after 1988 used copper and plastic,” he explained. The City will ask residents to take pictures of the service line entering their basement to save Smith from knocking on every door.
• Mayor Brian Johnson updated council members on the new truck ordered from H&S Motors, now Sleepy Hollow, in Cresco. Production for 2023 has stopped. The exact truck, approved to be ordered at the July 5, 2022 meeting, cannot be built at this time.
Johnson will talk with a few other vendors to see if a similar truck can be ordered.
• Jason Passmore brought forward a HQJP (High Quality Jobs Program) Economic Development application to the Iowa Economic Development Authority for Upper Iowa Beef’s expansion. The City will match funds by way of 100% tax abatement for a minimum of five years on the expansion. It was approved.
• The Council approved the budgets for the five entities — Fire Department, Library, Community Center, Pool and Parks.
• City Clerk Jane Tibbals was reappointed to the Regional Housing Board of Upper Explorerland.
• Council approved going with Cray Insurance for the city and fire department’s insurance needs for $25,185
• Public hearings were set for the next regular monthly meeting on March 7. They were for entering into a water revenue loan and disbursement agreement and borrow money not to exceed $504,000 (for Merrill Street Bridge Project) and the city budget.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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