The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

February 28, 2014

Important topics set for vote by City Council

OTTUMWA — Tuesday will be a very important day for the future of the city.

At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Ottumwa City Council, which starts at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, many important issues are anticipated to be on the agenda, including the Fiscal Year 2015 city budget and the conversion of downtown streets to two-way.

Both the Fiscal Year 2015 city budget and two-way street conversion are on the agenda in the public hearing portion of the meeting. This is not the first time either topic has been in front of the community, though.

Public hearings on the Fiscal Year 2015 city budget were held on Nov. 19 and Dec. 3, and then there were budget workshops on Jan. 23 and Feb. 10. The public was invited to contribute ideas about what should be seen in the budget, but unfortunately the voice of the community was relatively silent.

“We’ve had very little public input from the general public on the budget this year, in spite of having several meetings and a couple of work sessions,” City Administrator Joe Helfenberger said in a previous Courier article.

While the city budget did not warrant much public input, meetings about the downtown two-way street conversion were full of the voice of the community.

At a public input meeting on Jan. 29, city officials met with residents and business owners to talk about concerns and questions about converting Second and Main streets to two-way from Jefferson Street to McPherson Avenue. Many who came to the meeting had concerns over downtown parking, the change in the flow of traffic and access for loading and unloading trucks.

The City Council held a special meeting on Monday, and the two-way street conversion was one of the items of discussion. Based on input the city received from the public input meeting, the recommendation was made to the council that the change to two-way only go from Jefferson Street to Kitterman Avenue, which is about the halfway point between Jefferson Street and McPherson Avenue.

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