Lansing City Council approves employee wage increases and amendment to City budget during regular Monday session

by B.J. Tomlinson

The Lansing City Council met in regular session Monday night, June 6. After Council approval of the consent agenda, Mayor Mike Brennan opened a public hearing to consider adoption of a Budget Amendment for the current City Budget. After questions and comments from the Council, the hearing was closed and the Amendment was approved. The Council also set July 5 as the date for a proposal to enter into a General Obligation Corporate Purpose Loan Agreement for borrowing money to complete the Clear Creek Water/Sewer Project.

The Council reviewed and approved annual salary increases for several City employees. Police Chief Ed Stahl’s salary increased from $44,720 to $46,061.60; City Clerk Katie Becker’s salary from $36,000 to $37,260; and Street Superintendent Ken Ripp’s salary from $38,000 to $39,330. Dave Pleasants’ hourly wage was increased from $17.52 to $18.05 and Dan Ellefson’s from $12.33 to $12.76 per hour.  The Council also approved recommendations from the Parks Board to hire Patti Olson as Pool Manager and CPO at $13.60 per hour, first-year lifeguards at $8.00 per hour and returning lifeguards at $8.50 per hour.

The Council reviewed and approved a garage building permit application for Mike Schweitzer at 460 Center Street and a request from Craig Kolak to create a 30-minute parking space on the south side of William Street near the Days Gone By antique store.

Main Street Lansing reported that the Eastern Allamakee Community School District Board of Directors has approved the addition of a sidewalk in front of the Old Stone School, a portion of which will be used for historical displays.

Katie Hanson’s term on the Library Board was renewed through June of 2019 and the Council appointed Maxine Dawn for a two-year term which will run through June of 2018.

Mayor Brennan advised the Council regarding a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) plan to import non-stinging Asian wasps to control the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer on Mt. Hosmer. The DNR selected Mt. Hosmer in Allamakee County, as well as Cedar Rapids and  Fairfield to receive the treatment. The tiny wasps  are natural predators of the larvae of the Emerald Ash Borer so that the pests cannot reproduce. Brennan said the treatment will help the younger ash trees survive, but will not save older trees. There is no cost to the City for the proposed treatment.

Councilman John Rethwisch recommended that the Street Committee meet soon to develop a street repair priority plan and budget. Shaw Street, Bench Street and North Sixth Street were all mentioned as high priority locations.

City Clerk Katie Becker submitted an update on six owner-occupied Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rehabilitation projects in Lansing. Projects completed include those at 452 Fourth Street, 290 Bench Street and 781 South Front Street. Two others, 440 Second Street and 620 Hill Street, are nearing completion. Work will begin soon at 390 Bench Street. Becker also reported that no further bids have been received for the City-owned equipment, a 1996 Chevy 3500 and a 1988 GMC 6000.

Mayor Brennan submitted  the Annual Examination Report by the State Auditor related to City financial reports for July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.  Recommendations noted in the report included segregation of duties, budget amendments, reducing deficit balances, signing timesheets, providing supporting documentation and making sure all disbursements are approved by the City Council. Brennan and Becker said most of the recommendations have been implemented and adjustments made to current procedures to comply. A copy of the  report is available for review in the City Clerk’s office.

The Public meeting was adjourned and the Council entered into closed session to discuss employee performance data.