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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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okay somebody needs to step in and stop the madness at the fire dept. They want money to install a fire alarm system? they already have one, I saw it there on a tour. They want a company to monitor it for 5 years????? Where are they at? I think if their building is on fire and the alarm is going off they will know it. If they are gone to another fire then who will put it out anyway? And they want to apply for a grant to make oxygen? there are two companies that provide it here in town now, plus in an emergency as they say the hospital could be a source. Why not use the money to fix their driveway? It looks like it has been bombed. Why not apply for a grant to hire more firefighters? Or to buy fire equipment to keep them safe. We need to investigate the wasteful attitude.

NO S++T. How retarded is that, put fire alarms in a fire station. Unbelievable

The OP can eat that cost due to no notice to their employees that they were out of a job. Slam your doors shut and put your hand out? Sorry, I will NEVER set foot in the OP again in ANY of their locations.

Will the police force actually use the new equipment? Ive been involved in quite a few cases where the equipment they do have either “wasn’t working properly” or “there wasn’t time to turn it on”. Will these ones automaatically turn themselves on or are we still at the mercy of the police only catching what they want us to see?

Why is the library 29.45% over budget? They don’t do anything! Maybe getting rid of those librarians who sit behind the desk playing games on the computer or read books all the time might be a doable way to cut costs. And don’t say they don’t do it because I have seen them.

Eliminate some of the folks sitting behind desks that do nothing but read books or play computer games most of the day ! AGREE 100% ! 30% over budget is ridiculous ! Poor management at the library in deed 🙁

“Poor management at the library in deed…”

Isn’t that the reason for the $9 million plus bond issue? Why was everything breaking down or quite near it’s end of life? How come upgrades were never done incrementally?

Our community needs a good library, but to put off projects for decades or more, ended up increasing the cost to resident. If they had purchased a heating system 20 years ago when it was starting to show age, the price would have been half. Government entities began working on projects for ADA in 1988 when the legislation showed up in Congress. By the time it finally passed, some agencies already had funding and were able to begin the projects right away. That included the 1868 depot in Blue Island.

And 20 years later, we were still working on ADA issues at the library? There was a long laundry list of things that could have been taken care of, had management been diligent.

Shocked? Not me.

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