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City Administrator update for Mason City

Remarks prepared for February 19, 2019 city council meeting for City Administrator Aaron Burnett:

City Administrator Aaron Burnett

The city crews have been working diligently plowing and hauling snow through January and February. This has occupied a large amount of time for many departments and has limited the amount of other work that can be accomplished. Winter temperatures also pushed several facilities’ HVAC systems to the limit and several repairs were required. Many of these failures were believed to have occurred because of the historic lows and not because of underlying issues with the systems.

The River City Renaissance Project continues to be a large focus of my efforts. Working with the partners, the arena is getting through design and interior renderings should be available soon. I was hoping to have the predevelopment presentation at this meeting, but we still have a few items to work out on the integration of the skywalk construction and ownership into the hotel construction now that they are some more dependent upon each other. For instance, the hotel elevators act as the elevators for the skywalk on one side. I have been working with Gatehouse and the attorneys to get a determination on this item, but this tweak has pushed the presentation schedule back a bit. On timeframe, I do not believe this will cause any long-term delays because we can still continue to get the development agreement prepared for council consideration.

Housing developments have been an ongoing source of meetings and some discussions with the Park Board. One developer had interest in an area next to Willow Creek that would have required the development of some park land into a public parking lot. This deal was not able to be completed, but this housing developer and other developers continue to look for opportunities for new construction in the City of Mason City. Working with the North Iowa Corridor and Development Services, efforts are continuing to bring a development agreement forward with these parties.

The budget process is nearing completion with the public hearings and approvals of the Capital Improvement Plan and Budget occurring over the next month. This approval will give staff the authorization needed to start preparing items for execution over the next fiscal year. Several projects require engineering work and/or coordination such as the storm water projects, road projects and the water meter replacement project.

Lastly a bit of positive news, the library has completed its needed repairs and is now fully reopened. Programs can be returned to their normal areas and normal operations. The high cost of these repairs will be covered by insurance and we believe the problem is addressed with the repairs made last fall.

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