CAMANCHE — The Camanche City Council will hold a special Committee of the Whole meeting at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 4 to discuss the proposed rates citizens will pay for wastewater treatment services through Clinton.

City Administrator Tom Roth addressed the potential need to hold a special meeting of the COW after telling the council he recently spoke with Larry Mangler and Mark Schneider of the East Central Intergovernmental Association. Roth said it was their opinion that Community Development Block Grant funding in the amount of $550,000 the city received through the Iowa Department of Economic Development is “somewhat in jeopardy” and must be committed to the wastewater treatment plant project by Sept. 30 or the grant could be forfeited. Roth said City Engineer Dan Solchenberger thinks if a plan is in place by that date, IDED might allow an extension.

City Attorney Tom Lonergan said he met with Clinton Water Pollution Control Superintendent Gary Schellhorn and Clinton City Attorney Matt Brisch earlier on Tuesday and the 28E Agreement regarding usage of the joint Clinton and Camanche treatment plant was getting closer to being a final document. Lonergan said Solchenberger met with Clinton representatives, including engineers for the project, and reviewed proposed formulas and rates citizens would be charged. Lonergan said a work session or COW meeting would be a good idea.

Several council members debated potential options regarding whether the grant could be saved and questioned how long it would be before Clinton began work on the new treatment plant. Lonergan said if the parties could have the 28E signed by the deadline, it may be enough to save the grant because an organization would be set up to create the venture.

Lonergan noted if the city loses the grant, it does not mean the city won’t do the project, but said if there is a way the grant could be saved, the city should try.

Lonergan said he has received approximately six pages of information regarding the rates and a special meeting for Solchenberger and Camanche City Public Works Director Dave Rickertsen to explain the rates to the council would be optimal. Councilman Ken Fahlbeck said many citizens have expressed concerns about the issue and said he thinks many people would attend an informational session detailing the proposed rates.

“It’s hard to give them answers, if we don’t have all the answers,” Fahlbeck said.

The council scheduled a Committee of the Whole session to take place at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 4 and council members agreed that a special public information meeting could be held Sept. 11.

Roth noted that Rep. Bruce Braley was in Camanche for a “Congress on Your Corner” meeting on Tuesday. Roth said he did not get an indication from Braley about the city’s chances to get state funding for Washington Boulevard improvements, but said Braley made it clear that there are many requests for a limited amount of funding. Roth then advised the council he is continuing to investigate the possibility of the city getting state transportation funds for street improvement projects.

Roth told the council that he and Mayor Jim Robertson attended a meeting on a potential Port Authority last week and said the project seems to have promise. He said the potential of a Port Authority is exciting and may have a lot of impact on the future of Camanche. Roth said he hopes Camanche will have a part in the creation and operation of a Port Authority. Robertson said he thinks a Port Authority is an important concept and asked Roth to stay informed on the issue and report back to the council with developments. Following his report to the council, Roth said he is making suggested changes to City Hall, including installing multiple Internet connections, transferring from dial-up to a cable Internet connection and beginning a subscription to the Clinton Herald.

Camanche Police Chief Bob Houzenga noted that a Camanche officer had been named in a lawsuit claiming an illegal search had been performed. Houzenga said that while the city was not named as a defendant in the case, the city’s insurance company defended Officer Jeff Foster in the matter and the search was upheld in a federal court. Houzenga said the lawsuit was “pretty frivolous” and was dismissed.

Houzenga later commented that Camanche police officers and reserve officers put in many extra hours to provide law enforcement during the three-day Camanche Days celebration. Robertson thanked the police department for officers’ efforts and also extended gratitude to the Camanche Days Planning Committee for spending so much time and effort so the citizens of the community can have such a great celebration.

Camanche Days Planning Committee member Orren Thompson thanked Houzenga and the police department for providing excellent crowd control and law enforcement services during this year’s festival, saying the officers kept everything safe. Thomson then questioned a discussion held at the Aug. 7 council meeting regarding the city having a Camanche Days Committee liaison, noting he was surprised to read of supposed problems within the planning committee. Robertson explained that the city felt a liaison could aid the committee by helping to solve problems involved with organizing the celebration. Lonergan advised that years ago, the committee would make a report to the city following Camanche Days, detailing incomes, expenditures and any problems the committee experienced. He noted that it would be good to have that dialogue again as the city might be able to assist with some of the difficulties in organizing the celebration. Thompson said he could see where that might be a good idea in the future.

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