The Clinton City Council on Tuesday took the first necessary step to collect renters’ social security numbers by approving the first reading of an identity theft prevention ordinance.  

If the ordinance is ultimately adopted, the city would still need to design and implement a program to collect the social security numbers from residents of the 1,400 rental units in Clinton.

Council member at-large, John Rowland, voted ‘no’ on the ordinance, citing the paragraph that defines accounts as “an account the city maintains primarily for personal, family, household purposes, operation, financial, compliance general services provided, municipal infractions and sewer billing that involve multiple payments or transactions.”

“I was under the impression this would be just for sewer billing,” Rowland said.

“The idea of gathering social security a concern to me.”

In the Rules and Regulations Committee, City Finance Director Jessica Kinser explained mainly renters will be targeted in order to counteract a new Iowa law that prevents the city from placing a lien on a landlord’s property for unpaid sewer bills.

City Attorney Jeff Farwell reassured the council that such policies are intended to be broad in order to account for many situations, but the city would only be using social security numbers for sewer billing.

“My understanding of this ordinance is actually to protect the citizens from information our staff may inadvertently collect,” Council member at-large, Jennifer Graf said.

“It’s all put in place to protect from identity theft,” Farwell said.

The council approved the ordinance 6-1 with Rowland dissenting.

A first consideration to the city’s noise ordinance was also approved during Tuesday’s meeting.  

The ordinance outlines the noise emitting items that are exempt from the ordinance such as church bells, carillons or chimes, sound emitted during the performance of emergency work and the sound emitted by motor-powered muffler-equipped lawn and garden equipment operated between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

In addition, the Council approved a $513,000 contract for Phase II of the Lincolnway Railpark project during its meeting on Tuesday.

After convening a public hearing, which gathered no comments from the public, the City Council awarded the contract to Brandt Construction Co of Milan, Ill. Brandt will be responsible for the track extension into the railpark.  

According to City Engineer Jason Craft the city will not be responsible for the entire amount because of a match from the state, which includes around $50,000 in materials.

“Our local cost will be around $230,000.  We will be reimbursed by the state around $280,000,” Craft said.

The Committee of the Whole meeting, which immediately followed the Council meeting, included a change in the Library Board of Trustees policy that designates the City Clerk as its treasurer, which the Committee of the Whole unanimously approved. The COW also moved to revisit an agreement with Wright Express for fleet fuel card services until Kinser could provide more information.