The Ottumwa Courier

November 19, 2013

City Council hears no public input on City Budget

Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA—The Ottumwa City Council had plenty to discuss at Tuesday’s meeting in Council Chambers of City Hall.

Before the meeting came to order, there was a public hearing for citizens to voice their opinions about what should be included in the Fiscal Year 2015 Ottumwa City Budget. The hearing was designed for the citizens to make their voice heard in front of City Council and make an impact on what will be considered for the budget. However, no one stood when the council opened the hearing for input.

There will be one more opportunity for citizens to give their opinion on the budget before the meeting of City Council on Dec. 3, then there will be two budget workshops on Jan. 23 and Feb. 10, 2014, in front of the next council, before the budget is published on Feb. 20. Of course, public input is always accepted by city officials, and calls to City Hall regarding the budget are welcomed.

During the regular City Council meeting, councilmembers discussed disposing of city owned property, a slope mower and many other items.

The Ottumwa Water Pollution Control Facility was in need of a new slope mower to take the place of their current one. Presently, the mower they have is more of a grooming mower, according to Operations Supervisor Kam Reeves, and does not fare well with the rigors of the mowing they are performing. The new mower has a quarter-inch thick slope deck, and was a budgeted item.

Architectural services were also granted to Curtis Architecture and Design, of Oskaloosa, for the Downtown Master Façade Improvement Program. Nick Klimek, Director of the city’s Planning and Development Department, said choosing the right bid was based on qualifications, and Curtis Architecture and Design was the most qualified.

Out of the 10 departments that were solicited for the project, two were interviewed before making the choice. The contract cap for the project is just over $71,000.

Councilmembers also discussed amending the city’s Code of Ordinances by repealing Chapter 10-8, Building: Local Requirements. The proposed amendment to the Code of Ordinances would require residents with fences over 3 feet to obtain a permit for the fence. Currently, only fences 6 feet and above require a permit.

The recommendation was voted down by the council, but will be brought back up once a full ordinance can be put in place.

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