ELLSWORTH -Ellsworth city councilmen had a lengthy agenda in front of them when they met last week for their monthly session, with fire Chief Bruce Thompson in attendance to discuss the purchase of a new tanker/pump fire truck. The U.S. Department of Agriculture office in Humboldt has been contacted, and the paperwork to apply for a grant will be sent to the city.
Also regarding fire protection, the revenue provided by townships for fire protection was discussed. A local resident presented his concern that the city pays more for protection than it sells it for and that the city is carrying enough debt, with citizens paying more than enough in taxes. No action was taken, but the council and the fire department will continue to explore options.
The city has received notification that the community development grant applied for to alleviate flood waters following heavy rains was not granted. Also, Mayor Brent Hodnefield obtained an estimate for the drainage ditch on the east edge of town. No action was taken by the council, but they plan to address it again at their June meeting.
Maintenance Superintendent Danny Anderson told the council that there have been several repairs made to the 2-inch main in the 1700 block of Dayton Street and that he believes the main should be replaced in the whole block. Further, in his opinion the city should consider applying for CDBG funds to begin replacing water mains throughout the city. The council plans to address the issue again at their next meeting.
Several agenda items had to do with the upcoming summer season. Considering the best way to get mowing done, the council debated buying new equipment or contracting out the job and decided to purchase a mower and hire part-time help. Also for summer, the council approved hiring Mosquito Control of Iowa Inc., to provide mosquito control services, both on the ground and aerial, for $2,650.
Now that warmer weather has arrived, there are citizen complaints about snakes in town. The council's consensus was that this issue is not new to the area. Their recommendation to help control the snakes is to keep lawns short and to remove bushes close to the home. There will be no action by the city on the issue.
The Ellsworth Community Association requested a donation for the fireworks display planned for the Ellsworth Extravaganza on June 22 through 24. The council approved a contribution of up to $1,000 from bingo funds. Bingo funds will also be used to donate up to $5,000 for five scholarships for Ellsworth seniors.
RAGBRAI officials have contacted Hodnefield to see if Ellsworth would allow the ride to pass through the town if for any reason the route was changed. The request was approved.
In other business, the council:
Reviewed and approved the city insurance package for 2012/2013.
Voted to replace the 2006 computer at City Hall and to purchase a used window air conditioner for city hall.
Discussed and agreed that for safety and protection the American Legion property will be moved from the community center.
Decided the CFL give-away will continue this year, with two free 13-watt compact fluorescent light bulbs to be given to residential customers May 1-July 30.
Set a public hearing to amend the fiscal year 2012 budget for the May City Council meeting.