4.30.23 -Mississippi Valley Publishing
Mayor David Bierbaum called the April 17 Hamilton City Council meeting to order at 7 p.m. He had received a letter from Ada Bair, CEO of Memorial Hospital, noting the hospital’s founding in 1950 and its current status. The hospital received recognition as an Outstanding Rural Health Organization by the National Rural Health Association. The city of Hamilton will join in celebrating this achievement on May 9 by issuing a proclamation to be read that day.
Reporting for the Finance Committee, Alderman Debbie Summers noted an increase in the appropriations for the fire department: $270,000 was allocated for the purchase of a used fire truck. Police department salaries funding was increased to $310,000, and $41,000 was added to the next budget to purchase a new police vehicle. Summers reported an increase in the Building and Ground utilities budget. The community building was paid off early so the loan principal and interest were reduced to zero. The budget for hauling trash remains the same and this will be bid out; the current contract is with Kohlmorgan Hauling.
Summers reported an increase of $5,000 to the administration part-time help budget to cover the cost of completing a few projects such as updating city codes for the website and community calendar.
Reporting for the Health and Safety Committee, Alderman Brandon Wilson recommended that the council appoint Kyle Skelley, a certified officer with eight years of law enforcement experience in Ohio, Illinois, and Iowa, to the Hamilton Police Department. The recommendation to appoint Skelley, who currently works with the Lee County Sheriff’s Department, was unanimously approved. Officer Skelley’s start date of May 1 is contingent upon successfully passing a background check, a physical, and drug screening. Officers will remain on 12-hour rotating shifts.
Wilson also reported plans to establish an excessive alarm ordinance; officers will respond to three alarm calls per year per business without issuing fines to these companies, but they will be fined $100 per call thereafter.
Wilson noted the need to slow traffic around the high school; a speedometer trailer and flashing speed lights are being considered to reduce speed and he will contact Central Lee High School to discuss the school’s programmed flashing lights. He reported that his committee is also actively addressing speeding on Broadway and drug activity in the parks.
Reporting for the Buildings and Grounds, Permits and Zoning Committee, Alderman Bev Boone recommended approval of three building permits: the permits to remove an old cement garage foundation and to connect a vinyl fence and wood panels to an existing fence were unanimously approved. A permit to install rooftop solar panels was also approved.
Boone also reported that IMEG Engineers’ inspection of the old Casey’s site revealed an odor of fuel in the soil and the committee decided against building a new police department on the property. She reported a cost of $10,000 — $20,000 for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to “come in and clean up the property.” The committee is exploring land next to the community center and “Duck’s old property” as possible building sites.
Visitors expressed concerns about playground safety at the park, noting holes that need to be filled. The public has reported vandalism there and Police Chief Mike Boley noted substantial confirmation of these reports, but noted a lack of “evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt.”
Alderman Steve Schlatter opened the sealed Greenwood Cemetery mowing bids the Public Works committee received from LaBonte Lawn Care, Plowman’s Lawn Care, Tri-State Lawn Care, and Plate Lawn Care, LLC. After reading the bids, the council voted unanimously to give the contract to LaBonte Lawn Care of Carthage, who submitted the lowest bid of $120 weekly to mow and trim the overgrown cemetery weekly and as needed. The headstones are in disrepair and, because of the overgrown areas, there is a need for a map to find the stones that need to be restored.
The Economic and Tourism Committee is compiling a list of local events and attractions for a 4-inch by 9-inch, two-sided tourism card/handout that will probably be printed by Dodd Printing in Ft. Madison because, as reported by Alderman Tommy Buckert, they are “affordable” and will produce a “quality finished project.”
“Hamilton Summerfest” is the name chosen for the June, July, and August band events in the city park. Buckert reported progress on the “Hamilton Beautiful” planter project.
Buckert is seeking donations for flags for the Flag Day Event to be held on June 14 with June 16 as a rain date and reported that as of that day they have 100 flags and hope to have more.
Buckert praised Larry Beard’s work shampooing the carpeting and cloth chairs at the community center.
Bo Casey reported that the Fishing Derby for kids up to 15 years of age will be Saturday, April 29 at the lower section of Wildcat Park. The first 50 kids who register will get a fishing pole. The committee is “hoping for a good turnout.”
The Open Meetings Act requiring 48 hours advance notice of public meetings was addressed in response to visitors’ questions; the council meeting date and agenda is always posted at City Hall on Friday.
The meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.