The Ottumwa Courier

January 14, 2012

Council to discuss Transit position, grant applications

Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — Ottumwa Transit wants to fill a full-time bus driver position which has sat vacant for more than three months.

After full-time bus driver Bill Musgrove retired on Oct. 4, Ottumwa Transit has sustained its operations with one full-time and 10 part-time drivers.

But the department wants to fill the vacant position with a full-time driver. The position will not add additional hours if a current driver is moved to full-time status, as his or her hours would increase to 40 while the other drivers’ hours would decrease to make up the difference.

Ottumwa Transit Interim Director Mark Hagist said maintaining a balance of full- and part-time positions gives the drivers something to look forward to if they are seeking a full-time position.

The city’s Department of Planning and Development is also applying for an Iowa Finance Authority HOME Program Grant of $288,500 for seven houses purchased by first-time homebuyers in Ottumwa. No local match is required.

The project would consist of down payment assistance, housing rehabilitation and lead-based paint hazard reduction of the seven houses, which are located throughout the city.

First-time homebuyer housing assistance and rehab is needed to preserve existing housing stock and stabilize the tax base of the city, according to the department.

The second phase of sewer separation for the Richmond area is also up for discussion Tuesday night.

This phase will eliminate the sanitary flow from the Richmond Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) box, which discharges into the Oxbow lagoon.

The project consists of two areas: the first is bound by Chester Avenue on the south, Church Street on the east, the Oxbow on the north and Ferry Street on the west; the second is bound by Greenwood Drive on the south, Kettle Creek on the east, U.S. Highway 34 on the north and city limits on the west.

Under Bridge View’s previous management with Centerplate an agreement was made to keep a $250,000 balance in their checking account for day-to-day operations.

Finance Director Bob Jay discussed the amount needed with VenuWorks and determined that $200,000 will be sufficient for operations.

After previously advancing VenuWorks $85,000, the council will decide whether to approve an advance of $115,000, which would bring center’s balance up to $200,000.

The council will also discuss:

• Approving the contract, bond and certificate of insurance with Blommers Construction, Inc., of Pella, for the Brentwood Drive Reconstruction Project.

• Approving the contract, bond and certificate of insurance with Bloomfield Bridge & Culvert, Inc., of Bloomfield, for the Milner Street Bridge over the Jefferson Drainage Ditch Replacement Project. A late start date has been projected of Aug. 27.

• A resolution supporting Wapello County’s application for the county to be designated as a Foreign Trade Zone.

The council will meet in closed session at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers at City Hall. The meeting will be closed adherent to Section 20.17 (3) of the Iowa Code: “Negotiating sessions, strategy meetings of public employers, mediation, and the deliberative process of arbitrators shall be exempt from the provisions of Chapter 21.”

The regular council meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers at City Hall. The meeting will air live on GO-TV, cable channel 6.