Glenwood City Common Council will put old city hall up for sale

GLENWOOD CITY — The City Council voted 5 to 1 to put the old city hall up for sale.

The city offices were moved out of the building at Pine and Second Street because of mold problems several years ago. The building, which was once a Lutheran church, was purchased by the city back in the 1960s and remodeled into the city hall and library. The library has since moved to another old church across Pine Street.

 The council meeting was held in front of a packed room at the municipal building with a number of high school students attending as part of a class project.

Since the city moved out of the building they have rented a store building on Oak Street for the city offices, then moved to the upstairs of the Hiawatha National Bank building, and then moved to the present location in the former Citizens State Bank building on West Oak Street.

Nancy Hover brought forth discussion on the old city hall, which has been an agenda item at council meetings for years with no action taken. Hover indicated that she would like to have the council come to some sort of agreement about the old city hall.

Hover voiced her opinion at Monday night’s meeting by saying, “I would like something settled on the old city hall in case that I am recalled.” She then moved to put it up “for sale as is.” She indicated that a realtor should be hired to place a price on the building and then put up the “For Sale Sign.”

All members of the council favored the motion, except Crystal Booth who indicated that she needed more information.

New Ambulance

The council heard a report from the two people in charge of the local ambulance service, Char Draxler and Julie Lee. They reported to the council that at the annual meeting of the municipalities that received service from the local ambulance that the consensus was to look at purchasing a new unit.

“We are looking at trading off the newer ambulance, because of the amount we have spent in repairs in the last few years,” Lee told the council. She said that the unit is a 2005 GMC and has an air ride system that has been a constant problem. Council member Terry Klinger also noted that the unit has electrical problems and noted that many times the unit will not start when it is needed.

Lee indicated her group favors keeping the Road Rescue unit, which is on a 1997 Ford and replacing the GMC with a new Ford F450. The council learned that the new unit will cost almost $155,000 and the city will be allowed $25,000 for the GMC as a trade-in. The council agreed to move ahead with the project and Lee informed them that a demo unit will be at the fire station Tuesday evening at 5:30 p.m. for anyone to look at.

Sand Mine

Although no item about sand mining was on the council agenda for the October 14 meeting, it was brought up during the public comment period of the meeting. The council heard from several people about the sand mine, including Julian Bender and Mary Alice Calhoun.

Calhoun told the council that she was disappointed about the negotiations with Vista Sand and confused why there was a need for a ”secret meeting” and asked for that referendum.

Anders Helquist, who represents Vista Sands, asked Calhoun several questions about her objections to the proposed mine. She answered that she believes that it is not safe and there needs to be a five-mile buffer, she indicated.

Calhoun related that she was concerned for her health and that of her neighbors, “I need my neighbors’ help so they can support me,” she related.

Julian Bender addressed the council and spoke about the recall election, and suggested a moratorium be put on the mine issue until the upcoming April election. “Things are going too fast,” Bender said, asking, “What can be done to slow down this process?”

Later in the meeting Mayor John Larson addressed his thoughts about the proposed mine saying. “I want to speak on the mine issue.” He indicated that there is a lot of misinformation floating around. “Opinions are made to sound like they are facts,” the mayor related.

The mayor noted that the city is in need of funds to support city services. He noted that they had to cut one police officer and cut library expenditures, “both were not popular,” he said. He continued, “There has not been a new home built in the city in five years.” He related that the city is limited to how much it can raise in tax revenues. “Our expenses keep going up like wages, fuel and insurance.”

Larson said that other than many new jobs in the community, if the mine is in the city it not only pays property taxes but royalty on tonnage of sand removed. He related that the city could gain from $100,000 to $200,000 annually from the mining operations. He explained that is why the council held a closed session about the issue, so they could come together on some sort of strategy when talking to Vista Sand over a developer’s agreement.

In other action, the council approved a bill from Haas Sons, Inc. for road and utility work on Third and Maple Streets and Limberg Court. The bill was for $274,134.223. It was learned that the bid for the project was at $344,000 plus some extra work. Kevin Oium of Cedar Corporation reported to the council that the job is almost complete and only an inspection and punch list is to be completed. The council also approved writing off three unpaid city utility bills in the amount of $496.48 and approved moving ahead with the purchase of a new police car early next year. That cost will be just over $27,000 plus about $4,000 in new equipment. Police Chief Robert Darwin indicated that the old car would bring somewhere amount $3,000.

The council will meet again on Thursday evening, to start the budget for new year and the need to borrow funds to cover the spending for the street improvements and new police car.

The council also approved the fire and ambulance budgets and set the per capita charge for the ambulance at $17.05. The present rate is $9.82 and this is what is charged to the municipalities for providing the service. The City is the largest member of the area service and the cost to the city will be $21,176.10 for the coming year with the Town of Glenwood paying some $13,435.40. Other municipalities receiving service from the Glenwood City Ambulance are: Town of Emerald, $9,104.70; Town of Forest, $2,658.24; Town of Springfield, $7,974.72; Town of Tiffany, $2,538.96 and the Village of Downing, $4,515.60.

The council also approved the fire department budget and set the standby change at five percent higher than the current year.

They also approved Class B Picnic License for Glenhaven Auxiliary for October 24; Glen Hills Chamber Picnic License for October 26 and granted an operator’s license to Aleshia Adams.