Council hears report on solid waste commission and landfill

The City Council of Webster City heard a report from the Hamilton County Solid Waste Commission Monday night as it met in regular session.

Eugene Gray, a member of the commission and former Webster City mayor, said his report was an easy one to give.

“Everything is going well. We’re within our budget,” he told the council members.

Gray also provided details of the Regional Collection Center which opened in December 2011. The center, located at the landfill, is meant for the collection of hazardous waste items.

“We just had our first pickup of materials from the site,” he said.

Hamilton County residents are able to bring materials to the collection site at no cost, Gray said. However, an appointment is required to drop off items.

“We built the collection center with a grant from the DNR,” he said. “I don’t think we’re reaching the potential that we should be reaching with this.”

Gray said most households have a variety of materials that could be taken to the site rather than being poured onto the ground or down the drain.

“To make an appointment, they just have to call 539-4420,” Gray said.

City manager contract

The council also approved a three-year contract for city manager Ed Sadler. Mayor Janet Adams said the contract adds language which states Sadler would not seek or accept other employment for the first two years of the contract.

“It’s no secret that Ed has applied for other jobs,” said Councilman Geary Meyer. “But this is a positive step forward. There’s no baggage and there’s renewed commitment and enthusiasm. This is a positive step forward for Webster City.”

“From the city management point of view, we’re in capable hands. It’s a very tight and well managed ship,” said Councilman Doug Getter.

Housing project

The council members voted to move forward with a possible housing development in Webster City by soliciting Request for Proposals from interested developers.

At the last meeting, council members discussed a housing summit held in April which included various business and community members directly and indirectly involved in housing-related industries. City Manager Ed Sadler said the consensus from the summit was there is a need for housing in the $175,00 to $200,000 range in the Webster City area. The new and expanding industries in Fort Dodge, Clarion and other nearby areas is creating that demand, he said.

“We’ve heard that there is a sort of immediate need for a certain type of housing. Some of the managers of the new business developments are looking for housing or have bought homes, and there’s nothing really left on the market here in Webster City in this range,” he said.

Sadler’s proposal to the council called for the city to issue an RFP seeking a developer or homebuilder to build a minimum of three and as many as seven homes in the $195,000 to $235,00 range, an increase from the original discussion. The plan would start with three and as the first one sold, the fourth home would be started; as the second sold, the fifth one would be started and so on.

The successful contractor would not have to pay the city for the lots until the homes sold and to reduce the risk to the contractor, Sadler proposed that the city will purchase the homes that do not sell within 180 days at the previously agreed upon price.

“People should know we are just seeking RFPs at this point,” said Councilman Jerry Kloberdanz. “This is just to gauge interest.”

Social media

Webster City Economic Development will be continuing its social media presence despite the recent departure of David Toyer, who accepted a position in Burlington.

The council approved a contract with Atlas Advertising to step in and perform social media duties for a three month period, the estimated time necessary to find a replacement for Toyer, according to Sadler. The contract allows the city to select from a menu of services.

Atlas Advertising worked with Toyer and the city to develop a serious social media presence, using targeted audiences to keep Webster City in the forefront for economic development.

“I believe it’s imperative that we keep our name out there in this interim timeframe,” Sadler said.

The cost for the three-month contract is $6,250.

Other business

In other business, the council:

approved the second reading and waived the third reading of a proposed no parking zone on the east side of Lynx Avenue. The measure was passed and adopted.

approved a three-year contract extension with Williams and Company, the city’s audit firm.

held a public hearing and approved a budget amendment for the current fiscal year, ending June 30.