Council considers property sale
The Cherokee City Council is considering selling property to Wiese Oil Co. so that Wiese Oil can sell property to UAB (formerly Cropmate) so that UAB can expand, adding another building.
The property owned by the city adjacent to Wiese Oil was purchased by the city during a flood zone buyout of Schoon Construction, This was after the flood of 1993.
It was noted that when the property was purchased from Schoon, there were at least two payments totaling $24,000 but there was believed to be a third payment. The total cost will be determined before the next council meeting.
The city of Cherokee uses a building on the property it is considering selling. The city stores equipment there. As a temporary measure, the city can lease a hangar at the airport for a token fee of $1 a year.
Duane Mummert, parks superintendent, said that most of the equipment in the storage building is parks and rec equipment. He said that he doesn't have specific plans yet for a permanent storage location.
"We have a couple of businesses that want to expand. I think we need to take care of that first," Mummert said.
Deb Taylor, city clerk, will prepare a resolution for the sale of city property and bring it back to the next meeting.
The city council approved a 3 percent wage increase for non-union employees, after review of data, including wages for similar positions in other cities. The 3 percent is what union employees received in the latest agreement.
Dwight Varce said, "Many citizens don't understand that when dealing with the union, you can't just say no to a raise for a year."
Public employees do not have a right to strike but, in lieu of that right, they have an arbitration process. The Public Employee Relations Board can impose wages and benefits if a union and public entity cannot reach an agreement.
Public entities traditionally grant the non-union employees wages in accordance with what is given to union employees.
Doug Woods noted that city employees get automatic raises every year whether there is money or not. "This is not like in the private sector," Woods said.
He added that the city employees do have more responsibilities now, taking over duties previously handled by the city administrator. "Our employees have done a good job," Woods said.
The non-union employees got 3 percent with the exception of the library director who was given an additional $1,500 by direction of the library board. This was done to bring her salary more in line with library directors across the state. The library board has budgeted for this.
The raises are retroactive to the start of the fiscal year on July 1.
Non-Union Employee Wages, effective July 1:
|Police Chief - $48,563.43/yr.|
Park Superintendent - $43,820.37
|Police Secretary - $14.10/hr.|
Street Superintendent - $43,820.37
|Library Director - $36,554.70|
Water Superintendent - $43,820.37
|Adult Librarian - $15.83/hr.|
Sewer Superintendent - $43,820.37
|Children's Librarian - $14.68/hr.|
City Clerk-Treasurer - $43,820.37
|Park Laborer/Cemetery Sexton - $15.33/hr.|
P & R Coordinator - $15.87/hr.
|Fire Driver/Dispatchers - $9.84/hr.||Cemetery Laborer - $8.50/hr.|
The council approved a change order in the Bacon Aquatic Center/Gillette Park project contract. On advice from Neal Kuehl of Kuehl & Payer, engineer, the council agreed to replacement of a storm sewer manhole at a cost of $8,298. The work will be done by Schoon Construction.
The council approved the lower of two bids for repiping under the MHI water tower. Schoon construction had the low bid at $4,820.
The council approved going to bid for a new street sweeper. Jim Agnitsch, street superintendent, said that the city might need to have a "lease to own" arrangement, because there is not enough money in the budget to buy the sweeper outright in one fiscal year.
The city approved an annual lease agreement with Duane Mummert, parks superintendent, who provides some of the equipment for the city.
The council approved appointment of Brian Voss and Brandon Lucas to the volunteer fire department.
Doug Woods said that two items should be added to the next council agenda. He said the city should consider a lot giveaway in the Doherty addition based on what other communities have done.
He added that the city should consider deeding a property it owns across from the fire department to the fire department volunteers. This is an organization that operates as an entity separate from the city. It owns the old fire truck presented in parades and at shows.
Ron Johnson said consideration about how to deal with the city administrator vacancy, including whether or not to keep that position, should be on the next meeting agenda.
Mike Morrow raised some concerns to the council during the open forum segment of the meeting. He pointed out that the new police officer recently hired had not been trained at the academy and would need to be trained at city expense.
Morrow asked what settlement was reached with Ron Strickland, former city administrator. Morrow was told that the information could be obtained through Wally Miller, Jr., the city attorney.
(The Chronicle Times has not been able to obtain that information in time for this edition but we expect to have that information for publication next week.)
Doug Woods thanked the council for appointing him as interim council member. He was appointed to fill the vacancy created when Bill Troth died. A special election was called to fill the position, won on Tuesday by James Peck. Woods did not seek to be on the ballot for the special election.
Mayor Dennis Henrich told Woods that it has been a pleasure working with him.