The City Council and Mayor met in a work session Tuesday night to discuss unpaid bills owed to the City from the North Iowa Fair.|The City Council and Mayor Eric Bookmeyer met at City Hall Tuesday to discuss debts owed to the City by the North Iowa Fair.
One bill is an overdue water bill that is now $19,110.99. The other bill is $6,617.99 for traffic control that Mason City police provided at a PGI (Pyrotechnic Guild) convention.
There were differing opinions from the four Council members that attended the work session. Mayor Bookmeyer did not offer any opinions on how to handle the debts, and Jeff Marsters and Don Nelson did not attend.
Janet Solberg seemed ready to forgive the water bill. “I don’t think any of it should be paid. I think this is a wash. Here’s their donation for two years.” Solberg has been working closely with the Fair Board through her position on the Visit Mason City Board.
Max Weaver asked why the City hasn’t asked Cerro Gordo County Supervisors to pay the bill. “They own the land. Go after the landlord,” he said.
Travis Hickey and Scott Tornquist said setting the precedent of forgiving the debt would set a bad precedent for the City or future debts.
According to City Administrator Brent Trout, the Fair is being charged for water they do not use, due to large meter size. He also said the City could eliminate past due penalties amounting to $2,624.55 since it had done this in the past for other customers.
The Fair is looking into smaller meters on their grounds, which could lower their monthly bill dramatically.
Discussing the PGI bill for traffic control, PGI has told City officials that no other city charges them for this service, and has so far refused to pay the bill. PGI has also said they may not return of the bill is not waived.