The regular meeting of the Lowden City Council was called to order by Mayor Dan Hamdorf.   Council members present on roll call:  Conrad, Ryan, Olsen, Decker, Hoffmeier.   Visitors:  Pat Kroemer, Gene Hamdorf, Clark Gordon, Kevin Lange, Bill Norton, Joe Crock, Karen Mackey, Tim Malott, Jeff Kaufmann, Skip Hansen.

Jeff Kaufmann, State Representative, was present to give an annual report to the City Council.

M /S Ryan, Hoffmeier to approve the minutes of the 7/12/10 meeting.  Ayes:  All.

Hoffmeier asked Gene if the storm grates were in yet for the storm sewer drop boxes.  Gene said JJJ Enterprises is working on them with him.

M/S Conrad, Decker to approve payment of the bills as presented.  Ayes:  All.

Tim Malott, Cedar County EMA, was present and told the Council he would, if the Council wished, be the representative for Lowden for their Hazard Mitigation Plan.  He said Lowden is the only town in Cedar County not certified.  This disallows the City for any Preparedness Grant.  Malott also told the Council and Mayor they need to complete the NIMS CAST classes, 100, 700, and 800. 

M/S Ryan Olsen to appoint Tim Malott as the City’s representative for Lowden’s Hazard Mitigation Plan.  Ayes: All.

A t this point in the meeting, Mayor Hamdorf made a conference telephone call to John Danos, the City’s Bond Attorney from Dorsey and Whitney LLC.   Danos was asked to explain what the City can or cannot do to help Little Home Day Care Center (to be cited as “LH” in future references) with their financial situation.  Danos said the current one-cent local option tax in place can only be used for infrastructure such as water, sewer, and streets as stated on the ballot in the January 2006 election.   He stated the day care center is not “infrastructure” and would not be an authorized use of the local option tax money.  Loan payments to USDA for LH are to be made from LH revenues.    Bill Norton asked Danos if the City itself could operate the day care center.  Danos said yes, the City owns the building.  Danos stated if  LH  had no revenues and the operation closed, USDA could come in and take over the building.  He said “clearly, the City cannot be held legally to pay the loan to USDA” even though they have an obligation to.

Danos prepared ballot language for a Nov. 2, 2010, vote whereby citizens of Lowden will vote to reallocate the one-cent option tax.   The ballot stated local option tax revenues would be used as follows: “100% for support of the municipal child care enterprise and for the construction of public infrastructure improvements including, but not limited to, water/sewer/storm sewer improvements and street/curb& gutter improvements.  The specific purposes for which the revenues are otherwise to be expended are the support of the municipal child care enterprise and for the construction of public infrastructure improvements including, but not limited to, water/sewer/storm sewer improvements and street/curb & gutter improvements”.   The City could also add into the language “and for any other lawful purpose as determined by the City Council”.  The City currently receives approximately $4000/month from the one-cent local option tax.   Council discussed designating a percentage, perhaps 50% of the local option tax for LH and 50% for infrastructure.    Discussion then followed on the $2000 payment given to LH in July.

Council voted in July to give $2000/month for one year to LH to help them financially. Council assumed LH would make the $1462 loan payment to USDA with a portion of the $2000, but only $1000 was paid to USDA for the July loan payment.  Joe Crock, LH Board, said the money had to be diverted to pay bills to stay in business.  Bill Norton had sent a letter to USDA asking if they could just pay $1000/month for 3 months for their loan payment through September and then pay back the extra amount beginning in October.  He had not heard back from USDA.  Council member Decker thought the City should go along with that arrangement to help out LH.  Karen Mackey, LH Director, said they have cut expenses to a bare minimum.  She said there will be a turnaround in their finances in the next several months with preschool and school starting up again and they will have more children enrolled.  Mayor Hamdorf and council member Hoffmeier said the monthly loan payment to USDA of $1462 should be made directly by the City so we know the monthly loan obligation is being met.  Hoffmeier said the Council is trying to pay the USDA loan payment and help LH as well.   Council member Olsen said the City should give LH the money they need to run the operation since the City owns it anyway.   Kevin Lange, visitor, commented LH did not use the $2000/mo. given them in July for what the intended purpose was for, the USDA loan payment.

After further discussion, M/S Ryan, Olsen to have the City make the $1462 loan payment for LH directly to USDA until 6-30-2011 and give LH $1000/month through September, then $538/mo. until 6-30-2011 with total funding not to exceed $24,000 for one year as decided at the July 12, 2010 meeting.  Ayes:  All.

M/S Olsen, Ryan to place a referendum question on the 11-2-2010 general election ballot asking for approval to reallocate, per Resolution #10-06, the current one-cent local option tax as follows: “100% for support of the municipal child care enterprise and for the construction of public infrastructure improvements including, but not limited to water/sewer/storm sewer improvements and street/curb & gutter improvements and for any other lawful purpose as determined by the City Council”. Ayes: All.

City Clerk Peggy Kedley then made a statement to the Lowden City Council. She stated Little Home Day Care Center is a positive, important asset to Lowden and she supports it wholeheartedly.  She said any financial information presented to the Council by her, as City Clerk, is factual and unbiased.  Providing financial information to the council is part of a City Clerk’s duties.   Council thanked her for the statement.

City will advertise for a temporary maintenance man’s position.  Tim Burmeister will be off for medical leave for approximately 7 months.   Council said Burmeister will still receive his monthly health insurance stipend while off work on medical leave.   The position will be from August 30, 2010 to approximately April 1, 2011.   Job description will include having a CDL, perform regular maintenance work as assigned, 25-40 hrs. per week, $12/per hour, drug testing and physical.   Application deadline will be 8-18-10.   Ads will be placed in the Sun-News, Tipton Conservative, and on the F & B channel.   Council members and Mayor will screen the applications and schedule interviews.

M/S Decker, Olsen to approve the transfer of the Corner Café’s beer permit to Lowden Memorial Park on August 7, 2010, for Lowden Park Day.  Ayes:  All.

Council member Hoffmeier exited the meeting.

Kevin Lange said he received a letter from the City about cutting weeds on his property.  He said there are weeds just as tall on City property by the Lowden Historical Building.  Mayor Hamdorf said the City Park is under construction, and according to the committee doing the renovations, sod will be laid there September 1.

M/S Ryan, Decker to approve a beer permit for the Corner Café, pending dram shop insurance submittal to Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division.  Ayes:  Conrad, Ryan, Olsen, Decker.

M/S Olsen, Decker to approve the monthly financial report.  Ayes:  Conrad, Ryan, Olsen, Decker.  City Clerk said the LH payment in July came from the Sewer Fund because of a General Fund deficit of $43,000.  Council told City Clerk to use General Fund money for future day care payments even though there is deficit balance.

Gene reported the waterway behind the new bar/restaurant on Washington Avenue has been re-routed and the parallel parking for the bar on the Washington Avenue side will be off the street.   Mayor will decide if Schneid’s LLC can remove two large trees in the City right-of-way in front of the new business.

Council discussed hiring someone to do the new water meter installation work.  No further action was taken.

Council and Mayor will be conducting an income survey of Lowden residents in the next two weeks.   The survey is required so the City can apply for CDBG grant funding for the City’s wastewater plant project.

Next regular meeting will be Wednesday, September 8, 2010, 7:00 PM, due to the Labor Day holiday.

M/S Ryan, Olsen to adjourn at 9:10 PM.  Ayes:  Conrad, Ryan, Olsen, Decker.

Dan Hamdorf, Mayor
Peggy Kedley, City Clerk

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