The Ottumwa Courier

March 4, 2014

City budget, two-way streets approved

By JOSH VARDAMAN Courier staff writer
Ottumwa Courier

---- — OTTUMWA — The proposed adoption of the 2015 city budget and the approval of the conversion of a portion of Main and Second streets from one-way to two-way were both on the Ottumwa City Council agenda Tuesday, along with several other significant items.

Both the city budget and the street conversion project went through numerous public hearings and were discussed by the council prior to being voted upon on Tuesday.

For the city budget, there was a public hearing held before the council voted for its approval. City Administrator Joe Helfenberger and City Accounting Department Director Bob Jay gave a presentation about the city’s revenue and fund cuts in the proposed budget and talked at length about how tax rollbacks will affect the city in the future.

Jay said in the presentation that the total expenses budgeted for the fiscal year, which is from July 1, 2014, until June 30, 2015, is $63,407,000. The council voted 4-1 to approve the budget.

The recommendation to approve the conversion of Main and Second streets came after 17 public input meetings with the citizens and business owners in the downtown district, according to Ottumwa Public Works Director Larry Seals. He said out of the 21 businesses located in the downtown district, 19 of them voiced their support of the conversion.

To fund the conversion of the streets, a memorandum of agreement between the city and the Ottumwa Legacy Foundation was passed by the council. The Legacy Foundation has promised to fund up to $64,000 for the project, which will switch Main and Second streets to two-way from Jefferson Street to Kitterman Avenue.

The council voted unanimously to approve converting the streets to two-way.

The Courier will publish additional articles throughout the week about Tuesday’s City Council agenda and a more in-depth analysis of the 2015 City Budget.

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman’s Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh.