OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa City Council will hold a public hearing during today's meeting at City Hall to discuss whether the city should proceed with changes to how its elected representatives are nominated.

Currently the council members and mayor are all elected through a primary election process, one of the few cities in the state that still uses that process.

However, there are other options available, but they can only be used if an ordinance is passed to reflect the change. Those options include:

• Runoff election provisions, which are held when no candidate receives a majority

• Nomination by petition only

• Nomination by petition or by convention

• Nomination by convention only

• Special charter city.

The public is invited to make comments to the council during the meeting.

The council is also expected to approve the hire of part-time firefighters for the fire department. Last year during the budget hearing, 20% of the department's full-time staff was cut.

Fire Chief Tony Miller said in a staff summary for the meeting that "overtime costs have greatly increased since we lost 20% of our staff. With all the services we provide, we need to have a minimum daily staffing of six firefighters."

City Administrator Phil Rath is also expected to deliver remarks regarding updates on the city's strategic plan from the council's retreat as well as an update on the status of a human rights commission.

Also during a special meeting Friday, the city set 5:30 p.m. March 16 as its date for a public hearing to approve the fiscal year 2022 budget.

Today's meeting begins at 5:30 p.m., and will be live-streamed on the city's YouTube page.

Wapello County Board of Supervisors

The supervisors are expected to set 9:30 a.m. March 23 as the date and time for a public hearing to approve the county's fiscal 2022 budget.

Also, they are expected to pass a resolution to destroy records that are more than 10 years old, but are not required to be kept permanently, according to Iowa Code.

They supervisors also will approve plans, specifications and form of contract and the engineer's estimate for the courthouse fire alarm upgrade. The sprinkler systems have been upgraded, and the project is entering the final stages, which require a voice-activated alarm system and, later, removal of the fire escapes from the outside of the building.

There is also expected to be a change order regarding the two air conditioning units that will be installed on the roof of the Wapello County Law Enforcement Center. A purchase for a five-year warranty for the compressors in each unit will increase the cost by $4,400.

Also, the supervisors will approve a pay increase for board clerk Deb Blew, and a promotion of Annie Bonjour from Clerk 2 to Clerk 3 in the treasurer's office.

The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. and will be live-streamed on the board of supervisors' YouTube page.

— Chad Drury can be reached at, and on Twitter @ChadDrury


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