The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

December 19, 2012

'Political bias’ argued at City Council meeting


OTTUMWA — Shelter rental fee increase shot down

The City Council did not approve an increase in the rental fee of the Sycamore Park Shelter.

The Parks Advisory Board had approved 2-1 a fee increase for the shelter from $25 to $35. The City Council did not approve the measure 2-3, with Councilmen Brian Morgan, Mitch Niner and J.R. Richards as the dissenting votes.

Parks Director Gene Rathje said parks employees spend more time cleaning this shelter after it’s used than other park shelters. The shelter was rented 67 times this year, he said.

“If you’re going to do that, I don’t know why you wouldn’t, Monday through Friday, lower the other shelters by $10 to encourage weeknight rentals,” Niner said.

When the item was first presented to the Parks Board, it was presented as an increase to $50, Morgan said.

“It looked like a money grab, just another way to make 25 bucks,” he said. “Then, after the fact, it made it, to me, look like,  well, we can’t get another $25 out of ‘em, let’s get at least another $10 out of ‘em.”

Rathje said one to two parks employees go out every Saturday, Sunday and Monday morning — on overtime — to clean the shelters.

City Administrator Joe Helfenberger said the upcoming budget for fiscal year 2013-14 will likely hold to the same amount as the prior fiscal year, with some adjustments for union contracts, fuel and energy costs.

William Jones, an Ottumwa resident, expressed his concerns about increasing taxes.

“My real estate taxes were $500 when I moved here, and I thought that was a little high,” Jones said. “But since that time they have increased 600 percent. That doesn’t say much for this community.”

Jones said Ottumwa will never attract new industry due to taxes and “union attitude.”

“It’s worse in Ottumwa than any place I’ve ever lived,” he said. “If we’re not careful, we’re going to be in the same position many other communities are in today, going bankrupt.”

Jones suggested cutting all department budgets by 10 percent and getting rid of the Ottumwa Fire Department, making it entirely run by volunteer firefighters.

“We don’t need it,” he said. “It doesn’t do anything but chase police cars and ambulances.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Graham's presentation A sweet history lesson OTTUMWA — In one of the most popular monthly presentations the Wapello County Historical Society has ever hosted, it was standing-room only to hear the history of Graham Milk and Ice Cream Company and try some of the popular product. A landmark in Ot

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Ready, set, shop! OTTUMWA — Iowa's government says businesses must participate in the Tax-Free Weekend this Friday and Saturday. Store manager Greg Martin isn't complaining. "It’ll be much busier [than typical weekends]. Back to school is the second busiest season nex

    July 31, 2014

  • LCL scholarship recipients Supporting the health care future of the community OTTUMWA — For several area college students, Thursday afternoon was a chance to put names and faces with the thousands of scholarship dollars they have just received. The Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation hosted a reception to honor the 25 college s

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0801 OTT DMV new building exterior -M Ottumwa's DMV station ready to move OTTUMWA — If you believe you'll need to visit the driver's license station next month, you may want to write this down: 2849 N. Court St., Suite B. That'll be the new address for the Iowa DMV's office, which is currently located across from the Fairf

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0801 OTT Five Things logo -L T Five things to do in southeast Iowa OTTUMWA — Celebrate summer in a variety of ways and in several communities this weekend. Many towns are holding festivals, shows and events all centered around the summer theme, so head out while it's warm. 1. "Summer Shorts" is the Davis County Play

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0731 OTT Aviation plane -T -M Flying free OTTUMWA — The financial obstacle may have been removed if your career goal starts with learning to fly. "We have it set up for three terms, about nine months," said pilot and chief flight instructor Darren Graham at Indian Hills Community College. "

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Supervisors discuss pipeline potential KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Supervisors received preliminary, general information on a new pipeline being proposed to carry oil from North Dakota through Iowa, including Van Buren County, then crossing into Illinois. The proposed Bakken Pipeline wou

    July 30, 2014

  • Fairfield stabbing suspects' trials separated FAIRFIELD — The three people accused of dragging a man into a Fairfield apartment before robbing and stabbing him have had a judge grant their requests to separate their trials. Dawn Dunn, Dustin Roll and Brett Hedblade are each charged with willful

    July 30, 2014

  • Local business donates grain rescue tube KEOSAUQUA — Stockport Elevator, owned by Roquette America, donated a grain rescue tube to Birmingham and Stockport Fire Departments. A training session was conducted Monday, led by Dale Ekdahl, a representative of Outstate Data, LLC, the device’s man

    July 30, 2014

  • Where do my taxes go? OTTUMWA — Wapello County Board certified its tax levy. But what does that mean? Based on budgets submitted by various levying authors, the Wapello County Auditor prepares and certifies the levy rates for the county. Budgets for each levy are based on

    July 30, 2014

Photo reprints