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Council unanimously approves entire agenda, again


This news story was published on February 22, 2012.
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by Matt Marquardt –

MASON CITY – At Tuesday’s meeting, the City Council once again unanimously approved every item on the agenda with a 6-0 vote.

Several agenda items were pulled and there was some brief discussion on those items, but no council members took any real action other than to agree with each other and ask a few questions.

On agenda item 11, pertaining to the hiring of Perry Buffington as Human Resources Manager, City Administrator Brent Trout said he negotiated a higher rate of pay in order to get Buffington into the job.  Hiring him “was my goal in the beginning,” he said.  Trout added that Buffington was the lean coordinator at IMI Cornelious and will help with that initiative at City Hall.  Council member Scott Tornquist liked the hire and said he knew Buffington from “Boy Scouts.”

On agenda item 13, pertaining to an annual program for contracting services from private companies to paint streets and parking lots, Council member Alex Kuhn asked City Engineer Mark Rahm if the work could be done by city employees.  “No,” Rahm said.  “We would need a special truck.”  The work, which used to be done by city employees using a paint sprayer and stencils as late as the 1990’s, would have an estimated cost of over $108,ooo.  As a cost example, it will cost the city $67.oo to paint one rail road crossing set; the city needs 72 of them done, for a cost of $4824.00.

On agenda item 16, pertaining to the possible hiring of three new firefighters, there was concern expressed about the overtime costs at the Mason City Fire Department.  The City will be applying for grant funds to cover the cost of the new personnel.  Hiring the new firefighters would alleviate “overtime over the next two years and an increase in staffing would provide better service and response to the citizens,” Trout said in a City Hall memo.  The council will continue to research shift changes that would lower the amount of overtime paid to fire department employees.  Currently, firefighters work 24-hour shifts.

On agenda item 19, pertaining to an expansion at Cargill Kitchen Solutions, a company representative was in attendance and accepted many thanks from the council on adding 20 jobs to their payroll.  The jobs pay an average of $13.65 per hour.  Cargill is receiving tax abatements (TIF) for 10 years in return for adding the jobs.  Kuhn asked if there was flexibility in the deal, for example if Cargill came up a job short, the city would not necessarily have to find them in default.  Trout said it would be up to the council to make that determination if that circumstance arose.

Read meeting agenda and packet here.

Watch entire City Council meeting:


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64 Responses to Council unanimously approves entire agenda, again

  1. Avatar

    Frank Jennings Reply Report comment

    February 27, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    The entire itinerary for the trip must be made public. If they have nothing to hide, show the press. And don’t LIE about it!

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      February 27, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      This is a good point, Frank. Perhaps I will see if it could be released. I’m sure they would be more than happy to do that.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    Hey friend of Erick sounds like you woke up cranky. Didn’t Erick let you kiss him goodnight. By the way Trout works for the council not the mayor. They do his job reviews.

    • Avatar

      Friend of Eric Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      Wrong again. The admionistrator serves the mayor, it is in the city code. I read it there. How can you uneducated simpletons around hear debate this? Is your factory on shut-down? Are laid off? The fries are getting cold. Just leave the city business to people like me, I run several profitable businesses and drive a BMW. I am better than you!

      • Avatar

        Watcher Reply Report comment

        February 26, 2012 at 12:41 am

        Everyone knows bookee has trout wrapped up and owns him it is too obvious! Its pathetic! Lol

      • Avatar

        Kinkyh Reply Report comment

        February 26, 2012 at 3:36 pm

        Must be a kraut, drives a beemer and don’t know english much.

  3. Avatar

    taxpayers Reply Report comment

    February 23, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Can we all agree that we need to question Mr. Buffington and Mr. Trout alittle more as voters.
    We need more info on this. Matt

    Revolution starts with we the people!

    • Avatar

      Echo Reply Report comment

      February 23, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      I agree the council should have questioned this appointment further. AS a citizen of Mason City I would have like the council to make Trout prove this compensation is comparable to other cities in Iowa for this position.

      • Avatar

        Friend of Eric Reply Report comment

        February 24, 2012 at 10:59 am

        Mr. Trout doesn’t need to prove anything to you losers. He works for the Mayor, that should be good enough for you. Now go back to serving your fries and working in your disgusting factories.

  4. Avatar

    John Rowe Reply Report comment

    February 23, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    Matt, for context, could you provide the number of agendas and meetings for years 2010 and 2011 were held, and how many times the whole agenda was approved unanimously? We are not fully 2 months into a new year, I would like to see how previous years played out, and those totals, to then draw possible comparisons.

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      February 23, 2012 at 6:23 pm

      John, you would be correct, the city council almost always votes 6-0; the consent agenda lends itself to that. My point of contention is more with the items that deserve more thought… line painting programs, budgets, appointments, etc.

      • Avatar

        John Rowe Reply Report comment

        February 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm

        Matt, that is a valid point, taking time to discuss more items, I just felt a little mislead on your headline. Making reference to another unanimous vote on everything. Maybe a different headline would be a better reflection of the point of what you are trying to get at…more discussion on many of the items.

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      February 23, 2012 at 7:45 pm

      I think it is also somewhat rare that a MC Council votes 6-0 on every item on the entire agenda; this council has done so every meeting so far except for an abstention one time. That was another angle on the story title. Although most agenda items are 6-0 there is that one or two at many meetings where someone votes no. We haven’t seen that yet. This lack of independent thought is troubling, although we have seen Alex Kuhn ad John Lee make some good points. I would like to see them expand on their questions, actually bring a new or better idea forward and vote “no” when an agenda item doesn’t measure up.

  5. Avatar

    joke Reply Report comment

    February 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Oh bullshit. National enquier? Not even close. Like Matt determines all the idiots’s thinking and the way they vote. NO! NIT writes it exactly the way it’s happening. You want no national enquierer headlines then get rid of your council dummies. They are pure rag news the way they operate. Stick with the topic also!

  6. Avatar

    Joe Reply Report comment

    February 23, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Matt, just a question… Why “No Comments” for the Ford Arrests story!

    • Avatar

      reggie Reply Report comment

      February 23, 2012 at 10:25 am

      I can only guess that its because Comm. Motors is Matts biggest advertiser and he does not want to offend them with some of the comments that people on this board make. Just a theory though.

  7. Avatar

    Comment Reply Report comment

    February 23, 2012 at 6:14 am

    I have been a proud factory worker for most of my life. My family has prospered and been able to send my kids to college. NIT picker you are the lowest form of bottom feeder for your worthless comment.

  8. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 23, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Was just a short time ago the Globes trained monkey told us in an editorial since the council is asking question it’s not a white wash. I’ll base my opinion on the all yes votes.

  9. Avatar

    HAHAHA Reply Report comment

    February 22, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Good one Matt! Only an A teamer thinks like that! STUPID on all counts! hahahaaa.

  10. Avatar

    Tom Reply Report comment

    February 22, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Wouldn’t be surprised NIT if that is Todd(Nitpicker) he is soooo mad over being exposed he needs to get it out some place. I’d put money on it. The country is built on factories. Maybe no field trips or “how it’s made” ever hit his stubborn ass. Who ever get lost. This council should to. Terms end that’s the best news.

  11. Avatar

    NIT Picker Reply Report comment

    February 22, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    I find it amusing that the owner of this site actually tries to defend himself and stoops to name calling of other bloggers. What a freaking twit. An ex factory / Globe Gazette worker with a huge chip on his shoulder.

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      February 22, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      NIT Picker: Spoken like a true A Teamer. Only someone like you and your kind would denigrate a person for working in a factory. Thanks for showing my readers your true colors, if not your real name.

      • Avatar

        reggie Reply Report comment

        February 23, 2012 at 10:31 am

        NIT picker wasn’t necessarily saying a being a factory worker was bad, but since Matt hates the Globe ,putting the two together makes it a bad thing.I think maybe its a Matt problem.

      • Avatar

        NIT Picker Reply Report comment

        February 23, 2012 at 9:57 pm

        Matt you are a loser my friend a loser. You make it so easy to say. That chip on your shoulder and your hatred for the Globe is so apparent. Did you get fired from the Globe? who pissed you off there, Skip?

      • Avatar

        Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

        February 23, 2012 at 10:21 pm

        Haha. It’s all good. Thanks for the page views!

  12. Avatar

    Joe Reply Report comment

    February 22, 2012 at 6:33 pm

    “Rubber Stamp”

  13. Avatar

    Life Long Resident Reply Report comment

    February 22, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I would have thought Perry Buffington could have taken a little less money so he could stop the commute every day to Rochester. Yes folks, I understand he was doing it everyday!! P.S. did he lean IMI Cornelious right out of Mason City?? Ask all those workers how good he is.

    • Avatar

      Patti T. Reply Report comment

      February 22, 2012 at 9:30 pm

      IMI Cornelious i’m pretty sure fired everyone and closed up there doors!!! What is in store for our city hall staff?

  14. Avatar

    Echo Reply Report comment

    February 22, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Trouts reasoning for paying the HR guy more money then the job was advertised for should be reason enough for our council to fire him. All jobs in Rochester Minnesota pay more then the city does. I just looked up pay for employees in Rochester Trout needs to go back to the council and give everyone here a raise LOL sickening.

  15. Avatar

    Laura Fernkilt Reply Report comment

    February 22, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Hey is that an oreo cookie staring at trout in that picture? bawhahahaha

    • Avatar

      Real Classy here... Reply Report comment

      February 22, 2012 at 3:15 pm

      OMG girl, you need glasses.

  16. Avatar

    Tom Reply Report comment

    February 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Spend the city hall remodel money for the signs or any other stupid thing they have up their sleeves. So ridiculous this group of fat. So obvious don’t they see it? That’s how truly dumb they are!

    • Avatar

      Huh? Reply Report comment

      February 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm

      I cant get that time back now can I? What did they just write?

  17. Avatar

    Pork is wrong Reply Report comment

    February 22, 2012 at 11:35 am

    What a mess you guys have. Local elected leaders think the Federal Government is the answer.

    Our Federal Government is broke and local elected and hired beggars are going to Washington on your tax dollars to solicit money from a broken system.

    Just think every local government with their hand out for more, more, more. Raise taxes at the local level, raise taxes at the state level, and our goofy President wants another 1.2 trillion dollars of borrowed money to spend.

    The people have lost their minds allowing this group to go off and beg for money on your money.

    I was never going to share this but I just have to.

    I live in Coffee City, Texas where there are NO property taxes and I don’t have to pay any State Taxes.

    I am from Mason City but left there but 20 years ago.

    I love the info on this site and read about the idiots you guys elect so I can give my friends living in my former city crap about.

    I really wish you all the best in spite of your out of control, leaders.

    • Avatar

      Pork is wrong Reply Report comment

      February 22, 2012 at 11:37 am

      Oh one more thing, I thought it was bad 20 years ago and left because there were no good paying jobs.

      It is worse now!

      • Avatar

        GlobeGazetteStinks Reply Report comment

        February 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm

        Coffee City, Texas… population 192. I’m sure the quality of life is just grand! Is there a Starbucks on the major thoroughfare to Dallas? Looks like a very intellectual place too with 31.2% (compared to 13.5% in MC) having LESS than a high school education. No wonder you have no taxes, it appears nobody is motivated in Coffee City to attain anything in life. Congratulations!

      • Avatar

        GlobeGazetteStinks Reply Report comment

        February 22, 2012 at 1:58 pm

        Except to maybe watch Fox News! 🙂

    • Avatar

      Coffee anyone? Reply Report comment

      February 22, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      Coffee City is a small town in Henderson County, Texas, United States. The population was 193 at the 2000 census. Coffee City is a “wet sliver” of the county. Smith County residents, mainly from the southern part of Tyler, come near this county line to buy beer, wine, and liquor. The county line is approximately 15 miles (24 km) from the edge of Tyler off of State Highway 155.

  18. Avatar

    Michael Reply Report comment

    February 22, 2012 at 10:39 am

    To Matt. How about some real reporting. Can you give real dollar figures on what the trips have cost the city? Instead of using generalities like thousands of dollars. Maybe I should say actual instead of factual. Thank you

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      February 22, 2012 at 11:12 am

      I have exact dollar amounts for last four years. There will be a story this week.

      • Avatar

        Michael Reply Report comment

        February 22, 2012 at 1:46 pm

        Matt. When you print your story why don’t you also include how much money came back to Mason City in projects like say the Deleware bridge. I think you will find the investment was worth it.

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      February 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      Michael: You are contending that the Delaware Bridge money could only have been secured by Trout and Bookmeyer going to Washington. First of all I am not sure you can prove that. Second, Senator Grassley helped secure the pork funds for the bridge; he represents us, why would we have to go to DC just to ask for his help? Does he not have a phone, email or an office in Iowa we can visit? The trip is a waste and a free vacation for Trout and Bookmeyer, it needs to end.

      • Avatar

        Wolf bloggie dog Reply Report comment

        February 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm

        You bet Matt.. I agree hese trips in country and around the world by the Chamber along with other officials are farce in this age. The monies wasted could be used in a far better invested.

        Some might suggest the old fashioned way produces.

        I suggest a Bake Sale on the corner of 65 & 18

  19. Avatar

    GlobeGazetteStinks Reply Report comment

    February 22, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Matt… welcome to the 21st Century! This is how business is done in DC and what PROGRESSIVE cities have to do in order to get a piece of Federal Pork. Our DC elected representatives encourage these visits by hosting meetings for the locals bringing their staff to mingle face-to-face with those who make the trip. It’s easy to take pot shots at local officials who go to DC, but in the real world this is considered the cost of doing business. As a taxpayer, I don’t like it either, but if you want to change it, change the culture in DC. I would recommend that you take such a trip with the Mason City contingent so you can give your readers a better perspective how the federal government works especially when it involves local issues.

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      February 22, 2012 at 11:14 am

      I will pass on that trip, I don’t need a red scarf nor do I desire to join their club. Thanks anyway.

      • Avatar

        Realistic Reply Report comment

        February 22, 2012 at 1:14 pm

        In other workds he would rather not get the true story, what fun would that be. If he had actual facts and an understanding of what this type of trip is all about, he would be unable to write his pointles drivel.

      • Avatar

        Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

        February 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm

        Realistic, the only pointless drivel is from you, a nameless coward who blogs under a fake name. At least I take a position and argue it with my real name. By the way, I do understand what the trip is about. It is about pushing the agenda of the Chamber of Commerce.

      • Avatar

        GlobeGazetteStinks Reply Report comment

        February 22, 2012 at 2:57 pm

        The point of these meetings is to push the agenda of the Chamber of Commerce? Where is your evidence of this? Matt… you are becoming like the Globe-Gazette, the blinders are so tightly tied around your head that you can’t see the BIG PICTURE. Don’t use such a broad brush to paint a picture that you instantly lose credibility. As I said before, this is not a Mason City issue, but a Washington, DC issue. Call Senator Harkin, call Senator Grassley, call Representative Latham. Get their views on why Mason City officials need to be in DC on these trips? Some cities go because they have federal issues that require face-to-face meetings with federal departments. Often the only time this happens is in DC with a friendly nudge from a Senator or House Representative. So you really think water quality, cleaner air and passenger air service are Chamber of Commerce issues?

      • Avatar

        Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

        February 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm

        Hey Globe, did you really just write that? You are showing how utterly uniformed you are. Here is a hint: THE TRIP WAS SPONSORED BY THE MC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. Does that help explain it?
        Let me paint the big picture for you, in reality: This is an on-going, annual, wasteful trip put on by the biggest lobbying organization in America. They use the “clout” of local elected officials to gain access to the offices of higher-ranking pol’s in D.C. It is sad to see you are buying into the pork and waste that Washington is engulfed in, and want all of us to play by their rules and fall in line. I would not be surprised if you are actually a person who went on the trip or benefits from the trip in some way, otherwise, what do you have to hide by staying anonymous?

      • Avatar

        GlobeGazetteStinks Reply Report comment

        February 22, 2012 at 9:49 pm

        Utterly informed, really? Well here is your chance to inform me. What actually did the Chamber sponsor? What does the Chamber pay for in making these trips? BTW, is North Iowa Today a Chamber member? If not, why not? What do you mean by “they use the ‘clout’ of local elected officials to gain access to the offices of higher ranking pol’s in D.C.”? Are you insinuating bribery? What is your definition of “pork and waste”? What do you mean “play by their rules and fall in line”? And no, I have not gone on a trip to Washington D.C. with a group, but I have been there to visit my Congressman who at the time was very helpful in resolving an issue I had with a federal agency, and no, it didn’t result in any monetary gain for me. Do you travel the Avenue of the Saints? Would you have liked to travel all the way to the other side of Garner in order to get on I-35? Do you like clean water in Mason City? If so, as a citizen you indirectly benefited from these D.C. trips made by local elected officials through the years. I like North Iowa Today, but I have to admit, I have been disappointed recently. I really thought you would provide a more objective perspective of the local news with facts rather then just provide a subjective view like you know, Silly Me.

      • Avatar

        reggie Reply Report comment

        February 23, 2012 at 1:35 pm

        Matt I am getting SO tired of you pulling the “why do you hide behind being anonymous” card every time someone disagrees with you.Who in their right mind would print their real name and be attacked by any and all the other anonymous bloggers on this site. If you made everyone use their real name AND policed this site you probably would lose $ but would get what you want in the REAL name game.Just a theory though.

  20. Avatar

    Mark Brinson Reply Report comment

    February 22, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Something smells real real bad here, all these rubber stampers. Iheard they all took a trip to washington and blew a lot of money, is that true? Who paid for that??

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      February 22, 2012 at 9:33 am

      Mark, yes the City will be picking up the tab once again this year to send Mayor Eric Bookmeyer and City Administrator Brent Trout to Washington. We have spent thousands of dollars over the last several years to send these two over there. I believe they do get a red scarf for free though. While in Washington, they visited our Iowa Senators and Representatives, all of which have offices right nearby. They also have phones and computers with email accounts. Sending these people to Washington = HUGE WASTE and the city needs to end these trips immediately.

  21. Avatar

    amanda Reply Report comment

    February 22, 2012 at 9:23 am

    a speacil truck to paint roads? would about the junker dick bridgeford used. oh, i know a $500 is way to much to spend. as for the fire dept why hire 3 more? we don’t them or a fire truck either. after all if mason city got those drunkmeyer would have that money to spend on some stupid ass stuff like street light in a part of town no one goes to. ( seeing as his little venture ( ok $58 is not little) and drove out the ones who were there.

    too bad the mayor is too drunk to relize mason city CAN AFFORT a civic center. (seeing as 42 of 47 already open are underwater)
    but the i suppose, the drinkin mayor will never wake up to the fact that mason city IS NOT waterloo, cedar falls des monies, cedar rapids.

    if i may suggest that our mayor get in to a 12 step program. the first 1 is to leave, the next 10 to get in his car, the 12th to drive off in the sunset.
    oh wait, never mind the driving part (he is too drunk to drive) better get someone to do that.

    • Avatar

      Classy! Reply Report comment

      February 22, 2012 at 9:34 am

      Way to class up the joint!

    • Avatar

      Real Classy here... Reply Report comment

      February 22, 2012 at 10:57 am

      Wow Amanda. When you learn to spell, capitalize and not be so negative about EVERYTHING, maybe some will listen to you. Besides what are you doing here, shouldn’t you be in school?

      • Avatar

        Egad Reply Report comment

        February 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm

        Probably tried school, didn’t work !!!

        (whose yer english teacher)?

        (some class)

  22. Avatar

    Larry Reply Report comment

    February 22, 2012 at 9:15 am

    It’s exactly what we were concerned about. All rubber stamped and probably agreed on long before the council meeting. No one questions the fire department personel increases and they use overtime as a excuse. Bull Puckey. It cost a hell of a lot more to add a fireman than it does to pay a little overtime when you figure in their benefit package. They need to be treated just like other workers. Yes, they do a dangerous job but they do it by their own choice and I for one am tired of hearing how they are hero’s just for doing their job. They are paid very well for the risk and unless they are at a fire which is rare they have it made.

    • Avatar

      WHAT Reply Report comment

      February 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      My understanding is it would be grant money that pays for the 3 addition firefighters for 3 year. At the end of 3 year their position would be gone. They might keep their jobs if personal retire with in the 3 years. Yes this is tax money from the federal government but that money will be spent somewhere else if we don’t use it. Sounds like a win win.

  23. Avatar

    Ernie Krinkle Reply Report comment

    February 22, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Do these people have a single thought they generated on their own?

    • Avatar

      Did you? Reply Report comment

      February 22, 2012 at 9:35 am

      Were you at the meeting and shared your original thought? Didnt think so!

  24. Avatar

    Taxpayer Reply Report comment

    February 22, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Cargill Kitchen Solutions Deal – why make a deal if you’re NOT going to follow it? Just hand out or money with NO strings attached – Great Logic !!!

    • Avatar

      Did you? Reply Report comment

      February 22, 2012 at 9:36 am

      See previous “deal” which came up short and the company paid the city back for failing to meet such “deal”!

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 22, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      Please recall that the incentives given to Cargill were approved in May of 2011. The agreement approved last night formalized the UNANIMOUS decision made by the previous council…just like almost everything they did.