By HELEN HANNAN
---- — BLAKESBURG — Blakesburg mayor pro tem Bill Hinshaw opened the public hearing on Monday evening by explaining a $2-per-month increase in garbage collection fee was essential because the city lost money each month at the present rate. As there were no objections or comments from the audience, the hearing was closed.
In regular session following the hearing, the council approved raising the garbage collection fee from the present $11 per month to $13 effective March 1, 2014.
In support of an existing ordinance, the council approved a resolution to improve delinquent water bill collections. Included in the resolution is requirement of Social Security numbers from all new customers, and 30 days past-due customers will receive a delinquency letter requesting them to contact the city clerk to make payment arrangements. Failure to contact the city clerk or comply with the agreed arrangements will place the account in collection status. The water may be turned off until full payment of the account or the account may be turned over to a collections officer. The collections officer will be paid 15 percent of the total amount collected from each customer.
In other business:
• Mike DeWilde presented the annual fire department report, including the schedule of regular meetings for 2014 and that Jim Deevers had been elected fire chief to serve a two-year term. He also announced that as a fundraiser, the fire department is planning to raffle a John Deer 300 series riding lawn mower with 42-inch cut. All proceeds will be dedicated to improvement of the all-volunteer fire department.
• Approved Blakesburg Historical Preservation Society request to place the $9,000 heating and cooling systems and electrical update of the museum on the investment repayment schedule. Also approved to the investment repayment schedule was the $950 retro insulation of the west room walls and the floor over the crawl space as well as installment of the $2,100 handicap ramp. Council approval moves the BHPS requests to public hearings set for 7 p.m. March 10 immediately preceding the 2014-15 budget public hearing. The regular council meeting will convene following the public hearings.