The Cherokee City Council, at its Tuesday evening meeting, approved the use of $4,000 from the downtown banner fund to go toward the purchase of Christmas Decorations.
The banner fund revenues result from businesses paying to have the buisnesses' names on banners displayed on light poles. This revenue has been designated for downtown improvement projects.
Mayor Dennis Henrich said that the banners are currently in good condition but they will eventually need replaced and some of the banner revenue should be set aside for replacement costs. The fund balance was at $8,400 prior to approval of expenditures at the Tuesday meeting.
Besides the $4,000 approved for Christmas decorations, the council approved up to $1,000 for tree replacement at the downtown nodes. At least one of the trees is dead and there may be others needing replaced.
The council approved a bid of $500 from Harlan Meister to purchase a 20 foot by 40 foot building at Spring Lake Park. Meister is responsible for removing the building by June 25.
The council voted 3 to 1 to waive hydrant water charges for the Cherokee County Fair Board, an action traditionally approved annually. Ron Johnson voted against the motion. Doug Woods was absent.
The council had differences of opinion on some issues raised by Mick Mallory. Mallory was referred to as wet behind the ears by council member Ron Johnson. Mallory, along with Bob Leach, took office in January of this year.
Only one of these issues was on the agenda for the Tuesday meeting - the matter of time clock use. This is an item that had been deferred from a previous meeting in order to look into it further.
Mallory believes that salaried supervisors should be required to punch time clocks although they are not paid on an hourly basis.
He said this sets a good example for other employees, provides a record for purposes of such things as workers compensation claims and shows how many extra hours some department heads work. He later indicated that he has concerns with the work habits of one department head in particular.
Johnson said he doesn't see a problem with the way things are operating now. Leach, who is the liaison for the council with the parks and rec department, said that he has talked with Duane Mummert, park superintendent, about the matter. Leach said that Mummert is willing to punch a time clock if that is required but there would be times that Mummert worked for short periods several times during a weekend and the time card could be filled in a weekend.
Regarding, the one department head for which there is a concern, Mallory was told that the matter could be discussed with the person in a closed session.
Mallory said the matter would be brought up again.
An item not on the agenda that Mallory raised was the question of whether the special election for city council was needed since there was only one person to file a petition to be on the ballot.
The answer given was that the special election was still required by law since a petition to hold the election had been submitted to the city. Somebody other than the candidate on the ballot could be elected by write-in vote.
Mallory questioned whether the horses at the Cherokee Arena are properly contained during weekends in which the arena is used. One resident has complained about horse droppings in the street by his house.
Leach said that the horses are reasonably well contained. Only a few of the hundreds of participants drawn to events in Cherokee ride horses outside of the immediate area of the arena and those that do are within the law. Horses can legally be ridden on city streets.
"The arena is a great asset to the town. You're never going to satisfy everyone," Dwight Varce, council member, said.
Mallory questioned the need to advertise for a person to replace someone who is legally challenging her termination.
Mallory also questioned what was being done about a complaint from Romana Nitz about what Nitz believes to be a public nuisance and a violation of the original zoning agreement at the old junior high building where a business is being operated.
According to Mallory, the situation has not improved. Mallory challenged Varce as to what he has done about the situation because Varce had said he would take care of it.
Varce said he had talked to Police Chief Steve Schuck and the situation had been taken care of for a time.
Wally Miller, Jr., city attorney, said that although the discussion about items not on the agenda were mostly informational, the council should limit such discussion. Matters should be put on the agenda, giving an opportunity for affected parties to address the issues.