The City Council of Webster City is seeking volunteers to help it improve communication with the public.
Webster City Mayor Doug Getter said the council has discussed the issue for years. Now, they are looking to establish a community feedback task force relative to public information. Getter laid out a possible timeline for the group who would likely meet two to four times over the summer and identify options for the council. Then, they would make their recommendations to the council this fall.
"We want to be able to be open and informative and friendly," Councilman Geary Meyer said. "Our mission on this is purely positive and to build a stronger union in the community."
The council took no formal vote on the task force. They discussed the possible size of the group, with different council members suggesting between five and 11 members, and including a variety of representation on the task force. By the end of their discussion, they decided to invite the public to volunteer for the group.
"This task force is literally going to shape the way we communicate to the public. So, I urge anybody with any interest with this task force to please volunteer," Councilman Logan Welch said.
Another task force to investigate city-wide Wi-Fi and the cost of such an undertaking is also being formed. Getter said the council is looking for volunteers to comprise the task force who posses the technical knowledge to contribute to it.
Getter said those interested in being a part of either task force should contact City Clerk Karyl Bonjour by asking for her at the City Utility Office at 832-9141.
The council also approved a resolution awarding a contract for the 2014 Control Systems Replacement Project for the Water Plant following a public hearing.
According to a council memorandum from Matt Alcazar, engineering tech and project coordinator, the project received three bidders. The lowest bid of $112,092 came from Automatic Systems, Inc., of Ames. The memo said that while the bid exceeded the $100,000 budgeted for the project in the city's Capital Improvement Plan, there are budgeted funds available to cover the difference. City Manger Ed Sadler said the project will update automated controls for the city's water tower, pumps and other parts of the city's water system.
Welch voted in opposition of the resolution. Welch said he knows that there is a lot of margin in projects like this because he works as an automation distributor for a living. As such, he thought there was still money for the city to save.
"In my line of work, to get a bid the first go-around, we're high-fiving each other in the hallways," Welch said. "We could probably go back to them and say, 'Look at it again.' There's a lot of margin in this stuff and I think we can do better."
Sadler said the city is unable to negotiate contract bids once they are submitted. He said the council could move to not accept any bids and put the project back to bid. However, the council did not take that route as all but Welch voted in favor of awarding the contract to the lowest bidding business.
Changes made to a proposed animal protection and control ordinance will soon be available for public viewing. Assistant City Attorney Zach Chizek told the council that the new draft contains language revisions which were made following a council work session which heard concerns and input from council members, the public and a representative of the Webster City Police Department.
Getter said the revised ordinance will be posted for public viewing on the city's website between today and Wednesday evening.
In other business, the council approved a request from the Webster City Chamber of Commerce to close streets for upcoming Summer Nights and Crazy Day events.
Second Street from Willson Avenue to Des Moines Street will be closed from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on June 20 for the first Summer Nights event.
The second Summer Nights Event will follow Crazy Day activities on July 19 with Second Street closed from Seneca Street to Des Moines Street from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The final Summer Nights event on Aug. 15 will also close Second Street from Willson Avenue to Des Moines Street from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.