At the meeting, the Council passed the consent agenda unanimously, despite Mayor Jay Pattee and several council members expressing concern that no one from Pizza Hut came in to discuss their plans to monitor employees and who they are serving alcohol to after a 60 day suspension was issued recently. The hope is that someone from the local store will attend a future meeting and talk with the Council.
City Administrator Butch Niebuhr mentioned that construction and Iowa Energy Bank lighting projects are moving forward in town. Councilman Dr. Randy McCaulley then said it appears the turkey vulture plan is working. The City still has permission to sacrifice a few more birds and hang their carcasses, though nothing has moved forward since the first one was hung near the water tower.
The Council then briefly discussed the “set back”, or amount of space between wind turbines and other structures, based on talk about potentially erecting them within city limits if recommended by the Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustment.
The Council then heard a special presentation from Alliant Energy outlining the partnership with the utility and City. Annette Renaud spoke about the contributions they make to the community through economic development support, community support, the environmental partnership program, energy efficiency projects and infrastructure investment, along with as an employer and property tax payer.
During the public forum, Ryan Bender representing 14711 K Avenue spoke about the proposed wind turbine project. He said he and his family do not oppose wind energy, though he is concerned about the location and set backs in place with the current ordinance. Bender expressed several concerns about the impact of the wind turbines, including the site proximity to the Dallas County Hospital.
Fellow K Avenue resident Gary Sinclair then stepped up to the podium to express his concerns about the turbines. He says he’s in favor of wind energy but the proposed turbine site he believes is not in the right area or for the right reasons. Sinclair worries about electric bills increasing due to problems with the turbines. He believes the structures should be further apart than proposed plan and worries the cost will end up coming out of the pockets of tax payers. Sinclair also expressed concern about where the turbines come from and the impact the manufacturers in China have on people and the environment.
Water Works Superintendent Hank Schmidt then asked the Council to consider potentially putting more more traffic signs at uncontrolled intersections in the City.
A public hearing in regards to the fiscal year 2014 budget amendment was then held. The amendment includes both increased revenues and operating expenditures. There will be no tax levy changes due to the amendments. After hearing no input from the public, the Council unanimously approved the amendment.
Next the Council approved a bid from Jensen Builders in the amount of $598,700 for the 2014 apron rehabilitation project. The Federal Aviation Administrator is expected to fund 90 percent of the cost, with the City being responsible for $59,870.
Pay request number two for the Iowa Energy Bank lighting project was then approved in the amount of $157,783 to Voltmer Inc. for work completed through May 9th. A five year professional services agreement for sewer maintenance was then approved with Accu Jet and as a result the Council authrorized the sale of a 1999 Camel 200 Sewer Jetter Truck.
The Council then discussed the City’s hiring freeze. The freeze was put into place in March of 2012 to help balance the city budget. The Council voted to lift the hiring freeze but encouraged each department to find ways to control expenses and increase revenues when possible. This allows department heads to advertise and hire to replace vacant positions because they are currently at “bare bone” levels. Any new positions will still have to come before the council for approval. Mayor Jay Pattee said this past year was a pivotal one for the City with a reduction in property tax values and cuts in state aid cuts. He said everyone worked hard to make it work and keep Perry in a good financial position.
For more on the meeting, tune into today’s Let’s Talk Dallas County when we speak with Niebuhr on AM 1310 KDLS during the 9am, noon and 5pm hours.