From the Desk of the Belle Plaine Mayor

Belle Plaine Mayor Dave Fish

Dear Citizens of Belle Plaine:

HAPPY NEW YEAR, BELLE PLAINE

(I hope you also had a very Merry Christmas!)

There are many great holiday lights around Belle Plaine, so I suggest that everyone should drive around and view them before they get taken down. Congratulations to the people who took the time to put up some outstanding displays for all of us to enjoy! (City will be removing its lights on January 8th!)

I thought our snow crew did an outstanding job getting the streets, alleys, & business district cleared, especially for our first snow of the year. I believe that because of the snow’s nature, the only full day the city snow crew had off was Christmas Day. If you paid attention to the last council meeting, the council authorized the purchase of a new skid-loader with the following attachments snow bucket, grapple bucket, & hydraulic breaker. This should further aid snow removal and other activities the City is involved in.

I hate to bring bad news, but……. 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 driveway, garage, etc. This makes it much easier for the City to remove snow! Also, during any snow event, the property owner must 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 twenty-four (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 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 & alleys.

Please help our pedestrians by getting the sidewalks cleared!

We really don’t want children walking on the roads.

This was possibly the worst Christmas vacation I have ever experienced. Missed church on both Christmas Day and New Year’s because I was too ill to go. Pretty much sick for all but one day. Been to the doctor now for the third time. Negative on all covid & flu testing. Will go back to the doctor again this afternoon. January is not the time for a Mayor or a basketball fan to get sick! Will be in and out of the office over the next few days for more detailed testing.

If you noticed, we discovered a water main break on Friday the 30th and fixed it by 8:00 pm that evening. It could not have happened a year ago. Plus, it had to save us money because it was done with all in-house workers and no outside construction company. The council on Wednesday will be looking to purchase an excavator so we can be even more efficient on main digs, cleaning out the creek areas in the parks, & in the future, tearing down buildings. Again, something that will make city operations more efficient.

So, as I read in the Gazette about possible state legislature cutting property tax, I suggest you stay advised on this item. Normal property tax cuts usually only hurt city & county governments. Be cautious that those kinds of cuts can be difficult on the services the City & county can offer. That is why some counties never send out snow plows until sunrise and pull them at sunset. Be happy that it is not how Benton County operates. Just wanted you to know that was an item in the Gazette last week. The state has made some significant property tax cuts in the past ten years that have hurt the city budget.

We have had some very positive talks concerning the school stoplights on 7th Avenue. Hopefully, by spring, we will have cut a deal with the DOT to get a Hawk system at the corner of 7th Avenue & 7th Street. We are still discussing what we will do for a crossing down at the new Dollar General store. Hopefully, by spring, we will have something positive to report for that area of town.

The City just applied for a grant for the new owner of the Moore Building, which would include five new apartments. The grant could be worth as much as $500,000. All federal or state dollars costing the City nothing. Thank you, Benton Development & ECICOG, for helping with the application. We will have details later in the year. There are no guarantees, but if we don’t attempt to get the grants, I can guarantee that we won’t get anything. We are constantly looking for grant money to aid projects for Belle Plaine. Believe me, there are no grants for everything. It is really too bad Benton County does not have a casino; those casino grants are something else. I just noticed that my old employer, Keota schools, was awarded a $70,000+ grant for improvements on their baseball & softball diamonds. Amazingly, that softball diamond was built with money that the softball team raised through small kids’ basketball tournaments.

Get out & support the local athletes in basketball and wrestling, plus the band & cheer squads. It’s the month of January, and there is not a lot of time left in the season.

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

Mayor Dave Fish – January 2023

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