City streets near the Ashford University campus will no longer be clogged with student vehicles because of actions taken by the Clinton City Council Tuesday night.
The council voted 5-1 to establish a resident permit parking district on streets near the university. The council took unusual action to adopt the ordinance, considering the item the three times required by city code during one meeting.
Prior to taking a vote, Second Ward Councilman Mike Kearney said that he had listened to a constituents’ concern that the unusual ordinance adoption method, which was implemented to coincide with the beginning of the school year, denied Ashford students a chance to speak on their behalf. Students are just returning to campus, and may not have had a chance to follow the proceedings until now.
However, he said that he still endorsed the plan.
“I just wanted to relay that thinking to the council,” Kearney said.
Third Ward Councilwoman Bev Hermann said that she had received a communication from an Ashford student. Hermann said the student was opposed to the new permit system, which would allow police to ticket non-residential vehicles that park on the street. Hermann said she understood the student’s concerns, but said that the permit system was the best available option.
“I’m sorry we have to do this,” she said. “I don’t see any other solution.”
Mayor Rodger Holm also expressed some concern for the university students, but said the council needed to pursue the best possible solution. He said that the permit parking situation can be re-evaluated at a later date if problems arise.
First Ward Councilwoman Maggie Klaes voted against considering the ordinance all three times, and also opposed adoption.
In other action, the council:
• Approved a lease agreement between the city and Clinton Baseball Club, Inc.
Fourth Ward Councilman Paul Gassman had previously opposed the lease agreement, citing both the item’s skipping committee approval prior to the committee of the whole, and what he believed was a deal not lucrative enough for the city. Gassman said he had requested a breakdown of the financial benefits provided to the city from the ball club at the Aug. 9 meeting of the committee of the whole, but had not yet received the information.
Gassman said his concerns were only to ensure that the city and Clinton citizens were being treated fairly in the lease.
“I’m not against the baseball club by any means,” he said.
The agreement was approved, with Holm suggesting that the financial information requested by Gassman be provided as soon as possible. Gassman opposed.
• Held a public meeting to discuss the potential microsurfacing of Bluff Boulevard. City Engineer Jason Craft was asked to speak on behalf of the proposal. He said the cost of $125,655 for the micro-surfacing would actually save the city money in the long-term.
“Not only do we delay and defer the larger expenditure,” Craft said,” but ...we’ll see a savings.”
Craft said the microsurfacing procedure would take about a week, and wouldn’t require any road closures, outside of a few potential intersection closings. The measure was approved, awarding a contract to Micro-Surfacing, Inc.
• Listened to public comment from Clinton resident Mark Herch. Herch opposes the proposed franchise fee on Alliant utilities suggested by City Administrator Jeff Horne as a means of overcoming the city’s financial difficulties.
Herch particularly took offense to the suggestions of funding projects such as renovations to the library.
“We’re in a mess,” Herch said. “All you guys know we’re in a mess. ...Reality has to set in, people. Get rid of the little pet projects.”
Horne, when presenting his idea for the franchise fee, mentioned that the quality of life projects are essential to the growth of the community. He said not having adequate recreational facilities hurts Clinton, because it is counterproductive to resident retention, and to enticing people and businesses to the area.