In a special meeting Tuesday, the Cherokee City Council addressed replacement of a City Parks Department mower, recent storm damage to a restroom facility at Koser Spring Lake Park, and the impact on housing in Cherokee with additional jobs opening up at the Cherokee Tyson Deli due to recent expansion there and the closing of a Tyson plant in Oklahoma.
Administrator Don Eikmeier reported that one of the Park Department's mowers has experienced engine problems. This mower was purchased with 300 hours on it and now has 1500 hours. Duane Mummert, Park Superintendent, said that at budget time he told the Council that they like to replace the mowers when they reach 1000 hours, but the replacement of this mower was not budgeted.
Options are to replace the engine at a cost of approximately $4,500, or to purchase a mower. The Council reviewed the following bids on a new mower: Frederick Welding-$8,581.30; Midwest Honda Suzuki Kubota-$9,800; Builders Sharpening & Service-$10,994; Siouxland Propane-$11,495.
Eikmeier asked to defer any action on the bids until next week's meeting so they can research the equipment on the low bid. He did indicate that another option would be to finish out the mowing season with the equipment they have and rebid the replacement next season. However, this would mean that a new mower probably wouldn't be purchased until July 1, 2010. This also puts more hours on the other mowers so it may not be a feasible option.
Eikmeier reported that the Park's restroom roof was damaged during a recent storm. Insurance will cover the cost to replace the roof as well as the clean up of the tree debris. Bids were received as follows for roof replacement: Screenbuilders-steel roof-$4,360, 3-tab shingles-$4,336, 30-yr. shingles-$4,645; Menke Construction-steel roof-$4,157, shingles-$3,980; Tom Mummert & Son Construction-steel roof-$3,298, shingles-$4,209. Eikmeier is recommending the low bid from Mummert & Son for a steel roof at $3,298. They will, however, check to be sure he is bidding the same gauge steel as requested.
Council member Greg Stieneke questioned why City employees are going to do some of the work when they have plenty of other things they need to do. Why not bid out all the work if it is covered by insurance? asked Stieneke. The Council then voted to accept the low bid from Tom Mummert & Son Construction for a steel roof at $3,298.
Steve Casey, Wastewater Superintendent, was present to review needed improvements to the industrial wastewater aeration unit. There are holes in the bottom of the unit that are corroded and plugged. The sludge needs to be removed in order to clean out these holes. City employees have attempted to clean them, but the environment is an unsafe work zone. The estimated cost of this project is $16,000-$20,000 and will be paid from the industrial wastewater fund. Bids are being solicited for this work and will be available for the July 14 meeting.
Eikmeier also provided the council with copies of the recent inspection reports for the city's nine bridges. Points are assigned to each bridge with 100 being the best. The highest rating the city received was 85 with the lowest being an 18 for the Birch Street bridge.
Stieneke also addressed the council about the way a couple of his inquiries regarding the Bacon Aquatics center were handled. After asking an adult employee in the concession stand whether they do any type of inventory, he received a call from Eikmeier indicating that he should not be questioning employees. Stieneke then called the Administrator regarding some graffiti at the pool and was told that he should have pointed it out to the pool manager. Steneke wanted to know why the difference? Eikmeier said that the difference was in addressing an "employee" over a "manager." He also indicated that there were other instances where Stieneke was overstepping, but wasn't sure this was the time or place to discuss the matter. Stieneke then left the meeting before it was adjourned.
Council member Mick Mallory said the Council should address such problems and suggested that this matter be discussed in closed session with the people involved if they so choose. Council member Bob Leach said the Administrator, Mayor, and City Attorney should handle this. The only reason he was notified about the matter is because he is the Park Department's Council liaison. Council member Linda Burkhart said the Council is a policy board and they don't do personnel. The Mayor and Administrator will take the advice of the City Attorney and will keep the Council updated on the matter.
Council member Jim Peck reported that in talking with Jerry Menke, Cherokee Tyson Deli Plant Manager, that there will be workers coming to Cherokee from the Oklahoma plant that will need housing. Tyson has hired about 70 employees since the first of the year. Mayor Pam Pierce reported that a packet of information was put together for potential workers and includes information regarding housing options.