Presentations given at town hall meeting

ICCC?referendum, cat project, fire safety part of discussion

Four presentations were given during Monday evening’s town hall meeting.

A representative with Iowa Central Community College spoke about the upcoming Bond Referendum election to be held on February 6.

The proposed $25.5M bond would be spent on a series of projects including infrastructure improvements, workforce, safety/security improvements, and the Greehey Student Success Center.

Proposed improvements at the Webster City campus include a new elevator in one of the academic buildings, upgraded electrical services, upgraded windows, HVAC system and parking lot. An estimated $500,000 is earmarked to go towards the Webster City campus.

A portion of the bond funds would also go towards the Career Academy in Eagle Grove and developing career academies by Laurens and new training facility in Storm Lake.

Monies would also be put towards investing in the biofuels laboratory to help support renewable energy efforts by the college.

Projects would benefit multiple ICCC campus sites including Fort Dodge, Webster City, Storm Lake, and more. ICCC serves 23 high schools in nine counties.

Hamilton County Animal Advocates board members Monica Becker and Tina Poland spoke about the possibility of starting a pilot Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program in Webster City. The TNR program would consist of members of the HCAA taking inventory of unowned cats in a given area, setting traps with the property owner’s permission, taking the cats to the local vet to be fixed, vaccinated and ear tipped for identification, and returning the cats to the same place they were trapped.

“We have to figure out the right situation for the community and the cats,” said Poland.

“Our main goals are our Trap-Neuter-Repair program for community cats and spay-neuter assistance,” said Becker.

According to Becker, the program wouldn’t cost the city any money. The program would be funded through grants and donations.

Changes would have to be made to the city ordinances in order to allow the TNR program to take place in Webster City.

Becker, a Stratford resident, presented a similar proposal to the City of Stratford in October of 2017. The Stratford City Council approved the pilot program.

“In Stratford, within the last six months, we’ve gotten 40 cats within the city limits fixed, ten of those we adopted out, and three were returned,” Becker said.

Fire safety and prevention was the topic for two presentations Monday night. Webster City High School junior Alma Mendoza and WCHS ELL teacher Katy Bernard spoke about the importance of getting fire prevention information to the whole community. Mendoza and fellow classmate Grisel Moguel (who was unable to attend the town hall meeting) created a series of communication posters and pamphlets to reach the Latino community in Webster City. These pamphlets were created for students’ J-Term projects at Webster City High School.

They hope to place pamphlets at ten local community spots to inform Spanish speaking residents about the importance of having a smoke detector, fire extinguisher and other fire safety tips.

Webster City Fire Chief Chuck Stansfield talked with the council about a proposed commercial/multi-family dwelling inspection program.

According to Stansfield, prevention is the key to keeping residents safe. Prevention is made possible by education, engagement and encouragement. This program would consist of every commercial building, apartment and downtown shop/building being inspected annually. Buildings would be checked to ensure that wires, signage, lighting, and exits are up to current fire code.

“The majority of codes have been produced because of a life or lives were lost in buildings over the years,” Stansfield said. “About every code that is put out has a life or lives that were lost behind it.”

This program would also create accountability for landlords, businesses and other buildings that may be a fire hazard or potential fire risk.

“I’m passionate about keeping our community safe,” said Stansfield. “This is another dimension of creating safety in our community.”

Stansfield hopes to institute this program within the next year.

During the public comment section of the town hall meeting, Webster City resident Mark Gillette questioned the council about the former Fuhs Bakery and what was being done about the building.

Webster City Mayor John Hawkins informed Gillette that the city was looking at different options on what to do with the property. Hawkins said that the city hopes to have a concrete plan in place within the year.