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by Kolton Hewlett
The Leon City Council met for their regular meeting on Thursday, February 13, at 7:00pm in the council chambers. The department heads all gave reports on the operations of their departments. City Clerk Angela Blades reported that they have been working on the budget, animal licenses, and a new welcome letter. Clerk Blades also reported that she and Mayor Rob Kilgore completed a 90-day review for Administrative Assistant Trish Eivins, and they are beyond pleased with her performance. The street and water departments have been busy keeping up with the cold weather and snow.
There was a letter received at City Hall from the owner of the old GRM building that was inquiring about why commercial garbage was so expensive. He went on to say that typically similar communities often contract garbage pick-up and wondered why Leon didn’t do the same. Members of the City Council and other city employees present stated that there are many other communities that also do garbage pick-up “in house,” just like Leon.
Shane Akers and Kyle Sheetz of the Leon Junior League were present for part of the meeting to discuss some facility improvements they are hoping to make at the ball fields, which the city owns. Some of the biggest improvements they are hoping to accomplish are parking accommodations, tilling the fields so they drain better, a new batting cage, and extending the t-ball field. They will come up with all funding for the improvements. The City was in full support of improving the fields, and encouraged the board to continue to work with the council and Park and Rec board on all projects.
The Leon Chamber of Commerce has scheduled their Spring Clean Up and Project Day for Saturday, April 26, at 8:00am. The Council approved having city-wide clean up week and extra trash pick-up to follow the event from April 28 to May 2. The first ten people to call into City hall will get the $15 of their extra pick-up paid – $10 by Chamber and $5 by the City. If you would like to be put on the list for projects, know a great project around town, or would like to volunteer your time on that day, contact Maggie Lindsey.
Leon Community Development Corporation (LCDC), which is now a sub-committee of the Leon Chamber of Commerce, has been working diligently on ways to clean up the community. They have been searching for ideas from neighboring communities about how best to approach individuals that are having issues cleaning up their yards, and have come up with the idea of sending out letters to residents offering to help them clean up their homes. The committee will work on drafting a letter to send to these residents, which will then be sent to City Attorney Pat Greenwood for recommendation.
County Engineer Dan Doerfler and Assistant Engineer Keith Hinds were present to discuss needed improvement to the Little River Lake Road. The county owns half, and the city owns the other half. The cost of the project is estimated at around $600,000, and the city and the county would need to split the costs 50/50. Hinds passed around a detailed preliminary plan of the project, and further explained the plan in detail to the council. It was agreed that traffic on the road would increase considerably this year because more people are going to be using the lake again. They are hoping to start the project sometime in July or August.
Two public hearings have been scheduled for the Council meeting on Thursday, March 13. The first is for an Ordinance Codifying the Leon City Code, and the other is for establishing the City Fiscal Year 2015 Budget.
The Leon Volunteer Fire Department is looking into purchasing a new Slide-In Unit, and will submit an application for the USDA Community Facilities Grant.
Mayor Robert Kilgore read a letter from City Attorney Pat Greenwood about residential snow and ice removal. There are many residents in town that are not clearing their sidewalks. Therefore, the City will do it for them and will be charging a set amount fee.
Alliant Energy is putting in new LED lighting on street poles. The City is wanting to lower the wattage of the bulbs, but need to check first with the DOT to make sure there isn’t any regulations to how bright street lights on the highways have to be.
Police Chief Ron Zeiss expressed concern about holiday pay for the police department. After much consideration and discussion, the Council decided to table the subject until next meeting.