By Jan Huffman Herald Correspondent
The Clinton Herald
---- — DEWITT — After a year with the position vacant, the DeWitt City Council approved hiring a new part-time global information system/infiltration and inflow technician.
Lynne DeHaan, of DeWitt, has been offered the position with a flexible schedule of 16 to 24 hours per week at a starting wage of $17 per hour. DeHaan has a masters degree in GIS resource analysis and nearly 10 years of experience in the field.
One of her first assignments will be in updating the mapping software used by the city.
The council at Monday’s meeting approved the first change order for this year’s Sixth Avenue project. An additional $1,350 will pay for additional topsoil (10 loads) which will increase the contract with K& E Flatwork of Eldridge to $1,370,081.
An agreement with Flenker Land Architecture Consultants of Long Grove was approved for wetland delineation services. This is a part of the Paul Skeffington Memorial Trail bridge replacement project and is required by the Army Corp. of Engineers prior to getting a permit. Cost is $3,850.
“Nothing about this project has been easy,” City Administrator Steve Lindner told the council. He added that it is difficult to put bridges over creeks.
The council approved six reserve police officers to carry Tasers after they are approved by the Iowa law Enforcement Academy. Officers Lee Penningroth, Jamie Stearns, Dan Edwards, Ryan Edwards, Devin Wagner and Wade Glahn have passed the required training. ILEA requires city approval prior to ILEA approval.
Two grant applications will be submitted to the Clinton County Emergency Management grant program. The police department is requesting $11,224 for a utility vehicle, such as a John Deere Gator, which would be used for access trails and parks, parades and races, etc. The city’s match is $3,741. Projects of less than $15,000 require a 25 percent match.
The police department also is asking for $1,941 to help pay for Command Boards which can be utilized in emergency situations at an on-site command center. The city’s match is $647. The grant funds would not be available until April 2015.
The council approved forgivable loan mortgage releases for residences in the city’s housing rehabilitation program at 411 Fifth St. and 611 13th Ave. The homeowners have fulfilled the 10-year depreciation agreements for living in the residences.
The council approved the first reading of an ordinance amending the city’s code to increase the hotel motel tax to 7 percent from 5 percent. The increase was previously approved by city voters in 2006 but never got passed on to the state and was not noticed until recently checked by city staff. At least 50 percent of the revenue must be used for recreation, cultural or entertainment type purposes. The other 50 percent can be used for any general fund purpose, but, traditionally, all of the money has been used for parks and recreation.
The cemetery budget was adjusted to include $200 to $300 for installation of a new commode in the chapel and $1,450 to replace a clutch for the John Deere tractor. A request for 4.5 acres of ground to be plowed and re-seeded was deterred for consideration at budget time. Lindner said it would cost about $2,500.
The council discussed a disorderly house ordinance to use as an enforcement tool for police control at houses that host problematic activities. Police Chief David Porter said the ordinance would give greater latitude in dealing with tenant and/or landlord.
Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Lake reported 1.3 miles of the new mountain bike trail at Westbrook Park had been completed with 287 volunteer hours or work. He also said there were 856 current memberships at the DeWitt Fitness Center.
Lake said the DeWitt Aquatic Center was open 81 of 87 days in the 2013 season and had 25,388 visitors in attendance, about 700 fewer than last year.