Oskaloosa city council once again has full membership
by Dennis Sharkey
The revolving door at the Oskaloosa City Hall has stopped for now.
Kathy Griffin was appointed by Mayor Mike Boyd last week. Boyd and Councilman Greg Rockhold were absent from the meeting but both briefly attended via cell phone for the appointment. Councilman Gary Bryant, who is only a month into his appointment, did not attend the meeting. Rockhold along with Councilmen Mike Paavola and John Norman voted in favor of Griffin’s appointment. Rockhold made the motion over the phone.
Both Rockhold and Boyd exited the meeting. Paavola presided over the rest of the meeting.
The city is also closer to filling a part-time treasurer position. Two candidates were interviewed during last week’s meeting. A total of 22 applications were received for the position.
In other actions:
• The Health Board has recommended an extension to Oct. 15 for the remaining issues to be addressed before they are sent through the city’s legal court system.
Norman said all of the issues that were noted at the last meeting were sent an original letter and given 45 days to comply. Another letter with 30 days to comply was then sent out and now the violations are past that point.
Norman said that the Health Board factored the heat as a major issue for extending the deadline.
“I think that’s being gracious,” Norman said. “I think it’s giving people plenty of time. If they don’t come into compliance then it’s probably going to become a legal issue.”
Most of the issues discussed were structural issues.
Norman is taking a proactive approach to some yard and lawn issues after the council took some criticism about the program.
He has scheduled a helping day for this Saturday to help some people who cannot get into compliance because of age or health issues. Norman said he has reached out to the school and youth groups for help.
Norman said he did meet with Judge Dennis Reiling about a property he owns on Delaware Street and that some agreements were worked out.
“We had a lengthy discussion about it,” Norman said.
Norman said he visited two small engine shops to gauge how they operate their businesses. He is comparing the businesses to a lawn mower repair shop owned by Rex Forbes on the corner of Cherokee and K-92 Highway. Norman said one shop has a privacy fence that is used to shield lawn mower parts.
Norman said he has noticed progress at the business and expects it to be in compliance by the deadline.
Norman said the Health Board will push for a change to the city’s ordinance next year. They would like to see one violation letter be sent to a property for the entire season between May 1 and Oct. 1. This year letters have been sent and property owners have come into compliance only to fall back out of compliance several weeks later.
“I don’t know how else to do it,” Norman said. “This re-notifying and re-notifying is just silly.”
Norman said he will start turning his attention to un-tagged and broken down vehicles.
Two complaint letters were sent out last week that were generated by neighbor complaints and not the Health Board.
• The council tabled the approval of a county-wide emergency mitigation plan. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is requiring local jurisdictions to have an emergency plan in the case of a natural disaster.
• The council approved the mill levy with an increase of about 1/10 of a mill.
• The issue with a falling retaining wall has still not been settled. Vernon Sparks, owner of the house where the wall is located, still has not signed off on a legal agreement that will allow the city to encroach on his property to remove the wall.
• City Clerk Patty Hamm reported that she is getting several inquiries about the specifications for the pool repairs. Bids are due by Sept. 14 and will be opened at the Sept. 15 meeting.
• The city cannot currently hold a planning and zoning meeting because of a lack of a quorum. Only two members are active. Some appointments could come at the next meeting.
Short URL: http://www.jeffcountynews.com/?p=10038