The Cherokee City Council approved the second reading of a proposed ordinance increasing Cherokee landfill fees at Tuesday's final Council meeting of the year.
The Cherokee County Landfill Commission had previously notified participating cities that they had increased their landfill fees by 10-percent, which totals a $13,800 annual increase for the City of Cherokee. The Landfill Commission last raised its fees 22 years ago in 1988.
For the past two fiscal years, the City has been running a small deficit ($2,000 per year) based upon the current $6 per month landfill fee charged residents. To cover the Commission's 10-percent hike, a minimum 75-cents per month for residents would be required. However, the City has been paying demolition/landfill costs for condemned housing units from this fund, and is seeking to raise that 75-cents landfill fee hike to $1 per month, which would raise an additional $9,000 per year to cover the shortfall.
The measure requires three readings for passage.
The Council also heard from a concerned resident regarding the City's ordinance regarding animals running at large. Marilyn Leinbaugh told the Council she was knocked down twice by a dog jumping on her as she was walking on Summit Street. The incident required her to get medical treatment for arm, shoulder and hip injuries received when the dog knocked her to the ground.
The owner was subsequently fined, per City Code, for having an animal running at large and Leinbaugh said she is seeking restitution from the dog's owner for medical expenses.
However, Leinbaugh is now asking the Council to include a leash law in the City ordinance, maintaining that a dog is not under control unless it is fenced in or leashed.
Council member Linda Burkhart said she would prefer stiffer fines for dog owners who violate the ordinance, maintaining that irresponsible dog owners will still be irresponsible no matter what the ordinance says. She said stiffer penalties are the only way to make irresponsible dog owners comply with the laws.
At the recommendation of City Administrator Don Eikmeier and Mayor Mark Murphy, Police Chief Steve Schuck and Eikmeier will explore the situation and stiffer fines attached, and report back to the Council at the next meeting.
The Council approved a change order of $9,500 for extra work involved by the contractor during the recent emergency storm sewer repair project at U.S, Highway 59 and Cedar Street near downtown Cherokee that closed Highway 59 in Cherokee for more than two weeks. Final cost of the project was $72,908, to be paid by FEMA funds as the damage was attributed to the heavy rains this past summer, including an estimated seven inches in one day that caused serious flooding and basement flooding in Cherokee County.
In other business, the Council approved the Mayor's annual appointments for City Department liaisons - Council members Dan Morrow with the Parks & Recreation; Jim Peck with Streets Department and 911 Committee; Mick Mallory with the Fire Department; Linda Burkhart with Water Department; and Wayne Pingel with Wastewater Treatment Department.
Re-appointed to the Historic Preservation Commission for three-year terms were Marlene Lundsgaard and Steve Schroeder.
Council re-appointments for the New Year were Jeff Hayes, Tim Gaydo, and Karen Peterson to three-year terms to the Planning & Zoning Commission; Ken Slater to the County Landfill Commission; Dave Deedrick to the Siouxland Regional Housing Authority; and John Meis to the ISTEA Region 1V technical Advisory Committee.
Mayor Murphy also recommended Ben Jobe to replace Gene Streeter for a five-year term on the Board of Adjustment. Streeter has served on the Board for 34 years, since its inception in 1976.
The Chronicle Times was designated the City's official newspaper.
The Council also approved a Cherokee Tourism Loan of $5,000 to help cover expenses for the Cherokee Arts Council's 2011 Jazz & Blues Festival on tap for Jan. 7-9 in Cherokee.
The loan is the same as last year and the 2010 loan has been repaid, according to the City.
The Council tabled any action regarding the annual report of the Cherokee Area Economic Development Corporation after CAEDC Director Mark Buschkamp notified City Hall Tuesday that he could not attend Tuesday's meeting.