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Council to consider police equipment upgrades Monday night

by Matt Marquardt –

MASON CITY – The regular Mason City Council meeting will be held Monday, July 2nd due to the July 4th holiday.

See council packet here.

A new Internet-based flood inundation map developed at the Iowa Flood Center at the University of Iowa will be demonstrated during the meeting.  Nathan Young, Associate Director of the Iowa Flood Center and Associate Research Engineer at IIHR—Hydroscience and Engineering will demonstrate and describe the new flood maps developed for Mason City.

The Iowa Flood Center (IFC) is part of IIHR—Hydroscience & Engineering, a unit of the University of Iowa’s College of Engineering. The IFC was created in 2009 in the aftermath of the historic 2008 Iowa floods and is supported by state appropriations to improve flood monitoring and prevention in Iowa.

Also on the agenda are items for the police and fire departments.  The items to be considered are upgrades to the Fire Department building alarm system at a cost of $27,100; the purchase of automated parking enforcement software for the Police Department, which City Administrator Brent Trout claims will “create a more efficient and effective use of staff time”; the purchase of in-car video recording equipment for the Police Department at a cost of $28,573.53, including the upgrade of 9 wireless transmitters or “body mics”; and the application for a grant to help purchase equipment for emergency responders.

A number of liquor licenses will be considered for approval.  The Other Place is asking for a refund of $211.25; it closed on June 11.

According to a financial report from Finance Director Kevin Jacobson, there are a number of general funds over budget (see packet).

The city transit is over by 1.25% “due to increased costs of fuel repairs.”  He says in a memo that as transit buses come off an extended warranty, “maintenance expenses will continue to rise.”

Attorney fees are 11% over budget.  The city has not hired a full time replacement for former city attorney Tom Meyer, who abruptly quit some months ago to take a job in Cedar Falls.  Jacobson says in his memo that this increased cost “will be covered by reduced expenditures in other General Fund areas.”

The Mason City Library is 29.45% over budget but Jacobson says “this will come in line in June.”  Library Director Mary Markwalter recently said that the library is operating “in the red” and struggles to keep up with the three circulation desks and general upkeep of the new library.

See pages 59-65 in the Council Packet for more information.

Kenneth Nielson will be considered for the position of Sanitation foreman.  Currently, he is a Lead Collector in the Sanitation Department.  The City is actively pursuing the privatization of sanitation services in Mason City.

A number of persons who have not paid fees owed to the city will have the fees assessed onto their taxes.  See pages 67-72 in the Council Packet for more information.

The City will be advertising the sale of $2,270,000 of General Obligation Bonds  to finance 2012-2013 Capitol Improvements projects.

City Admnistrator Brent Trout says the pavement marking/pavement project has been completed and it is time to pay Quality Striping of Des Moines for their work.  The project cost approximately $100,000, paid for with Road Use Tax Funds.  Nearly $21,000 was spent for white crosswalk lines.

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