Stratford City Council holds budget hearing

When the Stratford city council met in their regular monthly session last week, public hearings for the fiscal year 2014 budget and for the 2013 water main improvement project were held. No written or oral comments were received.

Jim Leiding of Bolton & Menk, Inc., was present to review with the council the bids received for the 2013 Water Main Improvement project and to make a recommendation on behalf of his company. His options for the council were to go for a re-bid; take the lowest bid of $278,479.50 from Keller Excavating, which was determined not to be a responsive, responsible bid; or go with the next lowest responsive, responsible bid of $305,602.50 from Morris Enterprises.

Bolton & Menk’s recommendation was to award Morris Enterprises of Clutier, Iowa, the 2013 Water Main Improvement project. The council approved that recommendation.

There were several grant matters on the agenda, one to approve an application for the Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant for variable frequency drives to replace the cross the line starters for the high service pumps in the water plant, and to allocate a city match of $3,500 applicable toward energy efficiency efforts.

The council also approved a Build with Bags grant application for four recycled park picnic tables for the south shelter.

City manager Rachel Cahill discussed with the council the pilot project to install load control devices to reduce energy peak demands. According to Cahill, until Central Iowa Power Cooperative consents to demand response management and Midland Power Cooperative changes Stratford’s rate structure, there is not a realization on any payback. At this time, the city cannot rationalize going any further on this project until there is an economic payback.

In other business, the council reviewed building and special permit requests for Corina’s Caf to add a brick wood burning fireplace in the brick fence surrounding the patio. Due to concerns from the council regarding safety issues and who would monitor the fire, the permit for a brick fence around the patio was approved, but the special request for a fireplace was denied.

The council suggested considering a gas fireplace instead of wood burning. Cahill will visit with the business owner about possible alternate sources of energy for the fireplace, with the special request to be reviewed by the council if more information is received.

Cahill reminded the council that last July the council accepted a plan of action from the Swedish Hisotrical Society for the Linn-Berglund Cabin. Also, part of the plan of action included placing a permanent wood roof on the cabin before the start of the 2012-13 winter. A status report from the society was to be available at the April 2013 council meeting.

In other agenda items Monday evening, the council:

Learned that Kelsey Lindmark has been hired to be the co-manager at the pool this summer.

Approved using A-Line Iron & Metals as the disposal method for the high pressure sodium street light heads and lamps.

Approved a resolution agreeing to become a member of the Central Iowa Area Safety and Support Organization for the city of Stratford.

Discussed the possibility of personnel sharing between Stratford and the city of Stanhope. The discussion was that if an emergency occurs, mutual aid agreements are already in place. The council decided to discuss the issue at a later time.

Approved changes to the Employee Policy Handbook.