By HELEN HANNAN
---- — BLAKESBURG — The Blakesburg City Council on Monday moved quickly through the four public hearings scheduled prior to the regular monthly meeting. The council approved Blakesburg Historical Preservation Society (BHPS) requests to include the USDA reimbursement, handicapped ramp and retro insulation project in the museum investment repayment plan. The council also approved the 2014-15 city budget.
Sue Couse presented the council with an update on the planned Bike the Byway through Blakesburg June 21. Scheduled to begin in Ottumwa at 7 a.m., riders will travel Bluegrass Road to Blakesburg, then continue on T61 to Unionville, across to Bloomfield and back to Ottumwa. The council approved her request to allow the bike riders access to City Hall restroom facilities from 7 a.m. to noon, to allow parking of bicycles on the hard-surfaced areas around the building and to make a port-a-potties available. Registration has not yet begun, but possibly as many as 100 riders will participate, she said.
The ride organizers would like to have two food venders, but Couse advised simple, easy-to-eat on-the-go items would be best. The Pathfinders will be giving away bottled water and bananas at several locations along the bike route so the riders may not be very hungry, she cautioned.
In other business, the council:
• Approved the Blakesburg Garden Club request to install a 6-foot steel bench in city park in memory of Audrey Chisman, a longtime member of the garden club and lifelong resident of the community.
• Approved city clerk flex time to work at home and new City Hall hours of 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday. Additionally, City Hall will be open at other times if the city clerk is there.
• Set public hearings on proposal to sell city property at 7 p.m. April 14 with a hearing on a water rate increase immediately following. The increase of $1.60 on the first 1,000 gallons will raise the cost from $14.40 to $16. Mayor Jason Myers explained the increase is essential to correct the negative balance created by work done on the water tower last year.