City of Cherokee proposes sewer fee, OKs labor agreement

Friday, February 17, 2017

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, City Administrator Sam Kooiker introduced an Ordinance which institutes a $4 monthly sewer

maintenance fee for all utility customers.

Kooiker explained that the sewer fund is running a negative balance, primarily due to years of deferred maintenance and the closing of the Tyson plant in 2014.

The City operates an industrial wastewater plant formerly used by Tyson and Tyson paid for a large portion of expenses for the operation of this plant, including a portion of salaries for the wastewater employees. Even though Tyson is no longer utilizing the industrial plant, the City must continue to maintain it.

This first reading of the $4 fee Ordinance, which would begin April 1, 2017. was unanimously approved by the Council. It requires a second and third reading before final OK.

The Council also approved a Labor Agreement between the City and IUOE Local 234 for the period July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019. The agreement includes a 3% pay increase each year and an increase in the employee’s share of the employee health insurance premium cost from 3% to 15%. Dependent cost share for employee remains at 15%.

In other Council action, John Kruse, Mayor of Storm Lake, gave an overview of proposed Resolution Supporting Funding of the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. This resolution shows support for the Iowa Legislature to develop and pass legislation that funds the trust fund, namely a 3/8 of one cent increase in sales tax. This revenue would then fund unmet needs in soil and water conservation and outdoor recreation. The resolution was unanimously approved by Council.

Dan Hiserote, owner of 409B Valley View Drive, participated by phone in discussion regarding a Resolution Approving Easement Encroachment Agreement. The east side of the finished duplex protrudes 3.02’ beyond the variance approved on July 9 2013. Hiserote stated he hoped the Council would approve the 3.02’

vacation requested but does not support the encroachment agreement that the Board of Adjustment specifically requested be included in the Resolution. The Council agred to send the item back to the Board of Adjustment for further review.

The Council also unanimously approved the first reading of an Ordinance Creating the Hotel/Motel Tax Advisory Board, and waiving the second and third readings.

Council appointment to the Hotel/Motel Tax Advisory Board: include Julie Hering-Kent for term to expire 12/31/17; Shawn Simonsen and Sandy Siegel for terms to expire 12/31/18; and Terri Brown and Ed Otto for terms to expire 12/31/19.

Rich and Andrea Cook, 310 Oak Knoll Drive, asked the Council to consider including paving Oak Knoll in upcoming street work. Currently the City spends in excess of $10,000 per year maintaining the road. The road isn’t shaped so that water will drain toward collection points and into installed tubes, causing the need for a considerable

amount of maintenance. Kooiker stated that if the Council

chooses to add Oak Knoll to the 2017 project list, an amendment can be brought forward in the future.

The Council then approved the agreement between engineers for 2017 street projects, not to exceed $25,000 to be billed at hourly rates, and to add Oak Knoll Drive to the project list as an alternate project.

The Council approved the Water Service Line Cost-Sharing and Reimbursement Agreement between the City and the Cherokee Community School District.

Kooiker recommended awarding the quote for the water line service work to SCE LLC in the amount of $42,721.50, contingent on obtaining signatures.

Kooiker reported that the solid waste fund has a negative balance and one option to correct this would be to adjust customer fees between landfill and garbage services. As proposed, $1 of the current monthly landfill charge of $16.25 would be directed to the solid waste collection fund beginning on July 1, 2017. There would be no cost impact to the customer. This action will require an ordinance change.

The Council also requested all departments in the general fund with the exception of the library, as well as the street department, cut their overall budget request by 2%.

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