Sutherland City Council Approves Budget
March 12, 2020
The Sutherland Council on Monday March 2 approved it maximum levy for the 2020-2021 budget year, beginning July 1, 2020. The council approved reimbursing the general fund for employees benefits paid from the general fund over several years from the employee benefits fund where dollars have accumulated. The benefits levy had not been imposed for several years, but is included as part of the proposed maximum levy. That levy, in part, accounts for the increase in levy rate, from $10.41588 to $13.38965 per $1000 of taxable property valuation.
Joel DeWeerd of J.J. Customs (body shop) submitted a letter requesting support from the council in his effort to obtain a car dealer's license. The state of Iowa allows an individual or business to sell up to 6 cars per year without licensing. DeWeerd is close to that threshold and would like to find highway frontage property to offer repaired and salvage vehicles. A letter of support will be provided by the City Council.
Fire Chief Mark Shriver reported no fire calls during February but 19 ambulance calls. He also reported that there would be specialty training for emergency response personnel at the new water treatment plant operated by Osceola Rural Water on Thursday March 26.
Zoning administration within the city was addressed. There are no records of any meetings of the current board, their decision, or any issued building permits for at least 5 years. The zoning book used was published in 1955. Tony Larson was appointed to the board as the city representative. Mayor Gifford requested that the book (available online) be closely reviewed by the members of the board and undated to reflect current Iowa code and other specific needs of the city. A formal procedure for building permit approval is also expected to be addressed during this process.
The police report was combined by Mayor Kay Gifford with the Weed and Debris committee report, represented by Dennis Templer. Gifford reported that she and Templer had toured the community for up to 4 hours considering each potential nuisance. Discussion with the city's current efforts to maintain a respectable appearance explained the city's current efforts, some stumbling blocks and reminders of the success the cleanup efforts have netted. Templer displayed displeasure that citations to some properties show no results yet. Gifford patiently explained the nuances of the various situations. The discussion ended with clear the council's update on where each properties citations stood in the legal process. Later in the meeting Templer erupted at Police Chief Jami Webster about some work-related issues not on the agenda. Following the adjournment of the meeting Templer, Councilman Bruce Engelke, city employee Tony Larson and audience member Ron Kotts gathered and gossiped about the topic. Gifford chastised each of those participants causing them to disperse. Subsequently, Dennis Templer has resigned from the Sutherland City Council.
The City Council will address the opening at its April 6 meeting whether to appoint or hold a special election. If the council wants to appoint, they have to complete the process no later than May 5, 2020. Interested persons must be a resident of the City of Sutherland and a registered voter. You can nominate or submit your name for consideration to city hall anytime between now and when the council will appoint. Details will be announced in "O'Brien County's Bell-Times-Courier" in early April.
Chief Jami Webster was appointed by the council to served as the city's representative for FEMA, 911 and EMA meetings. A representative must attend at least monthly in order to for the city to qualify for FEMA funds going in any future event.
Spring Cleanup was set for Saturday April 25 with Household Hazardous Material (HHM) collection on Friday April 24. The HHM trailer will set up at the City shed. New prices for certain items will be published prior to the event.