From the desk of the mayor

Belle Plaine Mayor Dave Fish

Dear Citizens of Belle Plaine:

HAPPY NEW YEAR BELLE PLAINE!

I sure feel a lot better this year than I did last year!

There are a lot of fantastic holiday lights around Belle Plaine, so I suggest before they get taken down, everyone should drive around and view them. Congratulations to the people who took the time to put up some outstanding displays for all of us to enjoy!

Winter weather

I know this is hard to believe with 50-degree weather for Christmas but it will snow again and I hope we are prepared for it. When the city calls for a snow emergency all vehicles must be taken off the streets.

Either park in the City lot or in your own driveway, garage, etc. This makes it much easier for the City to remove snow!

Also, during any snow event, it is the property owner’s responsibility to remove the snow from your sidewalk.

City Code: 13. Removal of Snow, Ice, and Obstructions from Sidewalks. All property owners shall keep the sidewalks abutting their property free from snow, ice or other obstruction or accumulations. If such property owner fails to remove the same for a period of 24 hours after the same has been deposited thereon the City Administrator or the City Administrator’s designee may cause the same to be removed. Such officer shall file with the City Clerk a statement of the cost thereof which shall be $1.00 per running foot of the walk from which the accumulations are removed. Thereupon the cost of the removal shall be levied against the property as a special assessment in the same manner and under the same procedure as special assessments are levied for the construction of sidewalks.

SECTION 3-42-3 PARKING PROHIBITED. No person shall park, abandon or leave unattended any vehicle on any public street, alley or public areas in the public right-of-way and immediately adjacent to the traveled portion of a street during any snow emergency parking ban. This section is not to be construed as to allow parking back on the snow routes even though they may be cleared.

SECTION 3-42-4 PARKING PERMITTED. During any snow emergency parking shall be permitted in the city parking lot located between 7th Avenue and 8th Avenue between the railroad tracks and 11th Street.

I can almost guarantee that you will get more than 24 hours after the snowfall to clear your sidewalks. The city will not start looking at sidewalks until we are done clearing streets and alleys. Please help our pedestrians by getting the sidewalks cleared!

We really don’t want children walking in the streets.

Home composting

The City of Belle Plaine, in coordination with the Benton County Landfill and the East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG), will be the test site for a household organics management program or, in other words, a home composting program. Those of you who have gardens or create a lot of flower beds may be familiar with the use of a compost bin or tumbler. The Landfill, along with the ECICOG education team, will be looking for about 50 residences to participate in the program (about 6% of our occupied households). The plan, when it goes into effect, will pay up to $75 for a compost bin and also provide a composting workshop. The entire program is still in the development stage. If you are interested, please feel free to call City Hall with your name and number so you can get on the information list. If you get interested later or want to know more as soon as we announce the information/workshop meeting,

please take the time to attend.

Auditor

In reviewing the financial condition of the city with our auditor at the last council meeting, I asked him what was the grade he would give us concerning our financial health. His comment was “a low A or a high B. In general, you are about where you should be on the money side for a city this size and you don’t have a lot of debt even if it looks like you do.” I guess I just wanted to assure the citizens that audits are hard to read and overall the city is financially in good shape.

Herring

The Herring Hotel situation is challenging to explain. Last year (April 9, 2019), the City filed a 657A Petition against the Herring Hotel Foundation as the property located on the Northwest Corner of the intersection of 8th Avenue and 13th Street in Belle Plaine was an abandoned property according to Iowa Code 657A.1 This was scheduled to go to court in the summer, and then the court date was changed to December 3, 2019.

In discussions with the foundation’s attorney, they agreed to a stipulation, which the City Council approved. In that document the foundation agreed to a number of terms with the City of Belle Plaine concerning that property.

At the council meeting of December 18, 2019, the council passed resolution #19-12-05, which in summary stated it is our belief that the foundation failed to comply with the first five agreements of the stipulation that they had previously agreed to. Thus, the Herring Foundation is in breach of this Stipulation Agreement. As a result of this failure, the council ordered the Belle Plaine City Attorney to file resolution #19-12-05 and a sworn affidavit with the court that the City wants to proceed with obtaining the title to the property pursuant to the 657A Petition.

In short, the City has asked for ownership (Title) of the Herring Hotel. At that time, the City of Belle Plaine will determine what to do with the building and property.

Stay tuned for more information in the future!

Basketball

Seriously, I have over-purchased season tickets to UNI Women’s basketball. If there is a parent in the Belle Plaine school district, who would like to take their daughter to a top quality women’s college basketball game, then call me at city hall, and they are yours for the asking. (Remember they beat both Iowa and Iowa State!)

(Three tickets- great seats, row two behind the scorer’s table. Parking is free right across from the McLeod Center.)

Don’t forget to get out and support the local athletes in basketball and wrestling plus the band and cheer squads that also perform. I know everyone gets busy with the holidays, but don’t wait until it is the end of the season. Everyone seems to be having a good year!

As always, “Go Plainsmen.” Remember it is up to all of us to make Belle Plaine, the best hometown in Iowa!

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