The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

December 5, 2012

More notice needed before sewer projects begin

9 percent water bill increase next year concerns councilmen

OTTUMWA — While the council approved the Hamilton Street sewer project, some had concerns about how residents are notified of upcoming projects.

Public Works Director Larry Seals said the public hearing at Tuesday’s City Council meeting is the first way to notify residents of upcoming projects.

He said letters have never been sent out to potentially affected residents.

“I think it would be a good idea, and more cost effective, if someone were to leave a notification informing residents of the nature of the work to be performed and where it will be,” said Mayor Frank Flanders.

Councilman Mitch Niner suggested the Public Works department simply place flyers or door hangers on those residences that will be affected.

“It seems odd to me that this is our only attempt at letting citizens know when we’re starting to work on their street,” Niner said. “It wouldn’t take that much to walk up and down a street and put a hanger on a door. I’m wondering if it would have helped some situations we’ve had to deal with.”

Councilman Brian Morgan said it would also help open the lines of communication between the public and City Hall.

The Water Works Board of Trustees 2013 budget was approved 3-2, with Morgan and Niner as the dissenting votes.

Their concerns lie with an increase in sewer rates. Ottumwans will see a 4.5 percent increase in water rates on Jan. 1 and another 4.5 percent increase on July 1, said Water Works General Manager Mike Heffernan.

“That’s slightly over a 9 percent increase on water bills,” Morgan said. “That’s a pretty substantial jump. I think one thing I’m proud of up here is doing our best to slash sewer rates down, and doing the same with property taxes. That 9 percent really sticks out to me. It makes me a little nervous.”

Heffernan said the increase will amount to just less than $2 on the average resident’s water bill.

“The statewide trend for water rates increasing has been about 6.5 percent per year for the past five to six years,” Heffernan said.

Niner shared Morgan’s concerns.

“I want people to understand ... the council can vote up or down on this budget, and [Water Works] can continue with it anyway,” Niner said. “On behalf of those in this community that are still struggling ... this is something I won’t support.”

City Attorney Joni Keith said the city is close to coming to an agreement with Van Hauen & Associates, Inc. and Merchants Bonding Company to repair four blocks of North Sheridan Avenue, 59 panels of which have settled or cracked since the 2006 project. The council approved the extension of the statute of limitations by one year to give Van Hauen time to make repairs.

The council also approved an application for the 2013 Community Development Block Housing Sustainability Grant. The $380,000 grant would rehabilitate 10 homes on Ottumwa’s south side through roof replacement, doors, windows, electric and plumbing, said city planner Nick Klimek.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Pedersen: Spec. Ed. students should count ELDON — If you're going to publish graduation rates, stop excluding some children who are doing well. "In some ways, I think it's a little upsetting to the parents of a child who has a physical handicap or is otherwise [in special education], that th

    April 23, 2014

  • 0424 OTT Pennsylvania construction B&W photo -M -T Penn Ave. construction begins Thursday OTTUMWA — Motorists are advised that Pennsylvania Avenue will be closing for Stage 1 of the Pennsylvania Avenue Reconstruction and Widening Project on Thursday. Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed from just downhill from the intersection with Jefferso

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0424 OTT Lottery addiction graphic -T -L -M Hoping for riche$ — Part 3

    OTTUMWA — At first, George bought a lottery ticket once or twice a week. Nothing big. Spent $1 or $2 at a time. As the big jackpots rolled around, he’d purchase a few more tickets. No big deal, he thought. Soon, playing the lottery became his obsessi

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Interpreter bill approved in kidnapping case OTTUMWA — A filing in an Ottumwa case illustrates one of the basic tenets of the American legal system and its costs. Adem Anota is charged with one count of kidnapping. The charge is a Class A felony, among the most serious and one of only a few cri

    April 23, 2014

  • Van Buren OKs teacher pay hike KEOSAUQUA — The Van Buren Community School Board ratified a master contract with its certified staff members recently. Superintendent Dr. Pam Ewell, the Van Buren Education Association and the district reached a settlement which calls for increasing

    April 23, 2014

  • 'Ride With the Clowns' bike event full of fun OTTUMWA — This bike ride is a joke. No, seriously. The 10th annual "Ride With the Clowns" spring tune-up is set for Saturday, May 3, and this fun ride is sponsored by the Ottumwa Shrine Club Clown Unit. "It draws a regular crowd," said Mark Merringer

    April 23, 2014

  • Youth playing with guns panic Fairfield residents FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield Police Department received two calls Tuesday from concerned citizens reporting kids with guns in the vicinity of both elementary schools. In both incidents, the guns were actually pellet guns but looked real. According to a

    April 23, 2014

  • The most fun you ever had

    OTTUMWA — Not every child's idea will be possible — but every idea was recorded. "Kaboom" project manager Brenna Hull of the nonprofit group's San Francisco office was in Ottumwa Tuesday. She asked students at the Ottumwa school district what they'd like to see in a playground.

    April 22, 2014

  • 0423 OTT Recycle center color photo 2 -T -M Where every day is Earth Day

    OTTUMWA — Putting cans in the correct bin, saving electricity and adjusting the thermostat are not new concepts to the Ottumwa/Wapello Recycling Center staff. "We try to practice what we preach," said Janice Bain,

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0423 OTT lottery retailers graph -T -M Hoping for riche$ — Part 2

    OTTUMWA — We’ve all heard countless stories of lottery winners and losers. The winners, some of whom hold down multiple jobs, have modest dreams for now. One wants to buy a new home or car, another wants to pay of their debts or give to charity and e

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

Photo reprints


Obituaries

Facebook
E-edition