A foundation for future business

The City Council of Webster City made a trip to the former Beam building before adjourning their regular meeting on Monday evening.

City Manager Ed Sadler lead several council members on a tour of the building which is located on West Second Street. The city is selling the 107,000 square-foot building for just under $2 million according to Sadler who said the price is negotiable.

Electrolux, the former owner of the building, spent about $4.5 million on renovations according to Sadler. The city gave Electrolux $100,000 toward those renovations at the Beam building. When Electrolux vacated the building in January, Webster City Mayor Doug Getter said they had to pay the city $50,000 as they left the building less than five years after its purchase. The city then purchased the building for $1. Electrolux left the camera system and servers in the building intact among other renovations.

“For the right business, it’s a heck of a deal,” Sadler said.

The building has been shown by Binswanger and Sadler said a party is currently interested in purchasing the building.

During their meeting in the council chambers, the council discussed how they would go about revising a previously proposed animal control ordinance. The initial draft of the ordinance was voted down on March 17 during its second reading after Webster City Police Chief Brian Hughes and a couple community members voiced concerns about the proposed ordinance’s language.

The council is still looking to implement an animal control ordinance. Getter said the Webster City Police department has received about 2,400 animal control calls over the last five years.

“Of those 2,400 calls, approximately 140 of them have carried on to a next legal step in one shape or another,” Getter said. “Most of them get resolved and that’s a blessing for a community.”

City Attorney Gary Groves said those numbers are about twice as much as the city of Ames. He said those high numbers are why the city is concerned implementing a new animal control ordinance. However, the city is looking for feedback from the public. In addition to hosting a meeting with those who voiced concerns at the March 17 council meeting, Getter and other council members agreed to hold a work session for the ordinance next week at 5:15 p.m. with a specific date to be announced. Councilman Logan Welch said getting feedback from the public and taking a slower approach would result in a better ordinance overall.

“Please be patient. When we’re through all this, I guarantee we’ve done it right,” Welch said.

In other business, the council approved a resolution confirming plans, specifications, contracts and cost estimates for the 2014 water distribution system improvement project. Five bid locations were awarded to Habhab Construction and one was awarded to The Tile Pros. Offers on two other bid locations for the project were rejected. Sadler said the project includes plans for improvements to valves and hydrants in the city.

The council also approved the first reading of an ordinance which would repeal the position of city treasurer. They also repealed a resolution which established the investment advisory committee. Sadler said the city created the position of finance director several years ago and that position has assumed many of the duties that the city treasurer was responsible for. In lieu of a city treasurer or investment advisory committee, Sadler said the council is looking to be more involved in the city’s investment process.

The council also approved a request to submit a grant application for bulletproof vest reimbursements. The city has been awarded this grant in past years, Sadler said. According to a memorandum from Webster City Police Chief Brian Hughes, the grant has saved the city thousands of dollars by matching half of the city’s cost to purchase bulletproof vests for the police department. The grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Other council action included the approval of a request to replace carpet in City Hall. The council approved $18,747 in the budget for the replacement of carpet. The council voted on Monday to approve a bid from Gilbert Flooring and Paint Inc. for $14,266.20 to complete the project. Carpet will be replaced in the east and west halls, the council chambers and conference room, which a memo from Don Roe said is over 20 years old and coming loose in spots.