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Faris latest councilman to resign in Oskaloosa; Bryant sworn in

by Dennis Sharkey

The swinging gate at city hall may need some oil.

The second Oskaloosa City Councilman in as many months has resigned.

Mayor Mike Boyd made the announcement just seconds after a new councilman, Gary Bryant, was sworn in, that James Faris would be leaving.

Gary Bryant

Gary Bryant

Boyd opened the meeting by appointing Bryant to fill the open seat that was vacated by former Councilman Allen Wise after he resigned last month. Wise stepped down because he no longer qualified to serve because he moved outside city limits. Wise had been appointed in 2009 to fill an unexpired term.

Faris, who was in his first term as a councilman, was elected in 2009. His term was set to expire in 2013.

Faris said his reason for stepping down is family related and that he hopes to serve again someday.

“I’m sorry things have to be the way that they were,” Faris said. “In these tough economic times my family comes first. And I’ve missed being a dad.

“I enjoyed my time on the council,” he added. “My dearest hope is that someday things will work out to where I can serve again. And to the 70 plus people who voted for me I just want to say thank you for allowing me to serve.”

Faris made his way around the room to shake hands before leaving the meeting.

In other actions:

• The council heard from three separate pool contractors about different ideas for the pool. Each contractor met separately with the council and the discussion took more than an hour.

The council also got a $50,000 commitment from the Recreation Commission toward repairs to the pool.

Herb Dissinger said the commission voted to allocate up to $50,000 for the project.

“We think the pool is important and that’s why we allocated that much money,” Dissinger said.

Councilman John Norman asked Dissinger if the commission wanted a member sitting in on the decision making process. Dissinger said they would leave that up to the council but would be happy to provide ideas.

“I think we would like to be aware of what the decisions are,” Dissinger said. “If you’re okay with input that would be great.”

Resident Lisa Cross said she has formed a fundraising committee and one idea has already surfaced from their first meeting.

Cross said they will approach USD 341 about using the school grounds for a car show. However, Cross said the committee would need some assistance from the city for start up costs. She said more details would be revealed at the next meeting. She said the committee will also be soliciting help from local businesses and individuals.

Councilman Greg Rockhold requested a special meeting of the council so that bid specifications can be developed for the pool project. Rockhold wants to put the project out for bid by the beginning of next month. A special meeting will be held tonight(Thursday) at city hall.

• The council had more residents into the meeting to discuss letters sent to them by the Health Board. Norman said at the Health Board’s last meeting that residents with structural issues will be given the opportunity to develop a 30-day plan for fixing the problem.

Norman explained to the residents that no one is being singled out. Seventeen letters have been sent out concerning yard issues and another 19 letters concerning structural issues.

Norman said there are two main reasons behind the enforcement.

“We don’t want anything that is unsafe for people to be around,” Norman said.

Norman said the second reason is financial. He said letting properties become dilapidated makes property values go down which results in less tax revenues for the city. He said it also affects residents trying to sell their homes.

“We’re trying to get people to upgrade or at least clean up their properties because it devalues the neighborhood,” he said. “It affects everybody.”

He said there have been a lot of comments about Oskaloosa and what it needs to be, and what it is.

• Readers will notice a legal in this week’s issue concerning the city’s sewer project. Now that the project is complete bonds need to be issued to pay off the debt.

The city will release more than $3.1 million in bonds. The total bond is about $1 million less than originally anticipated.

• The council met with new engineer Joe McAfee. He provided a fee schedule for the city.

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Posted by on Aug 16 2011. Filed under Government, Municipalities, Oskaloosa. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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