Cherokee's City Council Tuesday night accepted a bid of $4,500 for a city-owned lot at 105 S. Sioux St., and approved spending an estimated $3,625 to install an electrical power box in the node at the northwest corner of East Main and First Streets to supply electricity for various civic events.
The city inherited the lot at 105 S. Sioux St. that contained a dilapidated house and is in the process of razing that structure and preparing the lot for sale. Tuesday night the Council accepted the $4,500 bid from Modern Heating & Cooling, a Cherokee business adjacent to the vacant lot.
The City has invested about $10,000 in the property, including $7,400 bid by Schoon Construction to demolish the structure, and an estimated $3,000 for landfill fees.
The need for the new electrical box results from Mid-American Energy Company no longer supplying power for downtown events by providing temporary drops from the streetlights, as the power company has done for the past several years.
The proposal approved by the Council Tuesday is to bring power underground from the alley north of East Main and First Streets. Schoon Construction will bore the underground line and Champion Electric will install the necessary power sources at the site.
For downtown events, the City will utilize an existing portable, city-owned power box that can provide multiple outlets. It is currently used by the Community Center and Bacon Aquatics Center.
The City will recoup its costs by now charging a fee to sponsoring organizations for events downtown that require electricity. The Council also indicated it would address the possibility in the future of installing a similar power box for West Main Street. Funds from the local Hotel/Motel Tax will be used for the project.
The Council also approved a Business Incentive Grant for Quilt & Kaboodle owners Kim Barrett and Jennie Bunt, for renovation of a building at 420 W. Main St. that will house their business in the future. Quilt & Kaboodle is currently located at 115 E. Main St.
The business is eligible for a $2,240 grant to assist in paying for the new store front planned. The maximum grant monies businesses are eligible for from the City and Cherokee Industrial Corporation is $100 per lineal foot of storefront, or 40-percent of the total project's cost, whichever is less.
Facing a 20-percent increase in premium, the Council also reviewed and renewed the City Health Insurance policy with Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield representatives Tuesday night. The changes recommended modify the base policy from $2,000 per person deductible to $3,000; and family from $4,000 to $6,000. By doing this, the premium increase faced by the City lowers to 7.5 percent instead of the proposed 20-percent hike.
To keep benefits the same for employees ($500 individual/$1000 family) the City will increase its self-insurance coverage.
In the opening Public Forum portion of Tuesday's meeting, citizen Duwayne Rupp addressed the Council complaining of a speed trap continually being set by by a State Trooper near 11th Street and C-38 intersection on Cherokee's west edge of town.
Rupp said the speed limit for east-bound traffic on C-38 falls from 45 to 25 in the last 100 yards approaching 11th Street from the west and "Trooper Erdman" sets a speed trap there and has ticketed for speeding many motorists in the past.
"It's nothing but a speed trap and, I'll tell you, its forcing people to shop out of town because the word is out," said Rupp, who offered to provide the City a petition if that was what was needed to address the problem.
Rupp also spoke of a local celebration at a downtown bar where revelers obeyed the law and kept their vehicles parked overnight and were taken home by designated drivers. When they went back to get their vehicles the next day they all had been ticketed for violating the snow removal ordinance.
"Every one of them told me they all went to Spencer to buy their Christmas gifts after that episode," said Rupp.
Mayor Pam Pierce told Rupp that she, City Adminstrator Don Eikmeier, and City Attorney Wally Miller Jr. will investigate the matter and get back to him.
The Council also approved appontments to the Tourism Grant Committee and Business Incentive Program Committee.
Shawn Simonsen, Sandy Siegel, Ed Otto, Tim Gaydo, and Councilmember Jim Peck were named to the Tourism Grant Committee.
Darren Zwiefel, Mike Taylor, Scott Weber, and Councilmember Linda Burkhart were named to the Business Incentive Program Committee, with two more members to be named at a later date.
In other action, the Council approved a resolution requesting the Planning & Zoning Commission to review a request to vacate a platted and undeveloped alley portion in the 600 block of Clark Street.