Dahl speaks to city council

Paul Dahl, a Webster City resident running for Governor of Iowa, spoke at Monday’s meeting of the City Council of Webster City.

Dahl, who announced his candidacy last week, asked the council to consider building local wind turbines to power city buildings or the city at large.

“Our utility rates have gone up, and of course, that is a possibility that is going to continue in the future,” Dahl said. “I’d like the city to be proactive to reduce the costs.”

Dahl also said that after going on a 12 city tour this past week, he noticed that gas prices were cheaper in Sioux City and Council Bluffs. He expressed concern that gas prices are higher in Webster City and the surrounding area. He asked the council to look into why that is happening. Webster City Mayor Janet Adams said the council would look into the suggested matters.

During time for public information, City Manager Ed Sadler discussed the way the city repairs streets. He said that residents have expressed concerns about how some street repairs have been done recently in Webster City.

Sadler said there are four ways the city can treat streets. A total rebuild of a street would cost about $115,000 per block, a mill and fill, where the top two inches of a street are taken off and asphalt is put back, which costs about $45,000 per block.

“Those are the treatments we give to the worst of our streets,” Sadler said. “We have about $600,000 per year to do streets, so if you do a total rebuild, you get to do about five blocks a year. If you do a mill and fill, you get to do about twice that much.”

Other treatments include slurry seals, which cost about $5,000. Sadler said that treatment can help extend the life of a street by several years until a total rebuild is needed. Another treatment, which was done on Cedar Street this year, is a chip and seal.

“I know there are some people who aren’t happy and refer to it as a gravel road, which it is not, but it is meant to buy us time,” Sadler said. “We do this on streets that aren’t on the list for 10, 15, maybe 20 years. It’s an interim measure to keep it from deteriorating. The only other option is to do nothing.”

At the meeting, Adams said she represented Webster City at a press conference with Governor Terry Branstad. The conference discussed the Connect Iowa certification of West Des Moines, the third city to be certified. Webster City was the second to be certified after Indianola. The certification came from the work of former Economic Development Director David Toyer, and certifies high speed internet access for businesses in an area.

In other business, the council approved the second reading of a proposed ordinance providing for the division of taxes levied on taxable property in the 2013 addition to 2013 Red Bull Division Urban Renewal Area. Sadler said that includes Van Diest Medical Center and the property to the east of the hospital south of Superior Street.

The council also voted to amend a city ordinance to allow the founding of a church at the old Hamilton County Public Health building. Sadler said that parking issues at the new church have been discussed. Adams thanked the many Webster City residents who came to the meeting in support of the church for attending.

A proposal from Binswanger to list and sell the old Beam Building for the city was rejected by the council. The proposal from Binswanger said the building will be vacant as of Jan. 1, 2014, and the city will be looking to use the building to attract a new employer to the City through either a purchase or lease. Sadler recommended the council not go through with the proposal as their goals differed from the city.

“When they look to sell a building, they’re looking to sell it for as much as they can get as soon as they can do it,” Sadler said. “For the city, this is one of our few opportunities to try to bring new jobs in and use this as part of our tools to encourage business here.”

The council also approved a deed for a vacant lot in Brewer Creek estates to Daniel Willard and Diane Powers-Willard. Councilmember Geary Meyer noted that this was the fourth new house built in Webster City in the past few months.