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Budget season begins as City Council digs in

  • The Charles City Council members listen to a presentation from Healthy Harvest. Press photo by Thomas Nelson.

  • Charles City Council members Jerry Joerger and DeLaine Freeseman listen during a council planning session. Press photo by Thomas Nelson.

  • The Charles City Council discusses the city budget during a Wednesday night planning session. Press photo by Thomas Nelson.

  • Jan Libbey, executive director of Healthy Harvest of North Iowa, and Wendy Johnson, Healthy Harvest of North Iowa board member, talk with the Charles City Council and uses "Jengo" blocks to illustrate a point. Press photo by Thomas Nelson.

By Thomas Nelson,

The Charles City Council began reviewing the city budget Wednesday night and discussed the Parks and Recreation Department, the hotel/motel tax, the library and library trust as well as an area group looking for funding.

Healthy Harvest let the council know it would appreciate support.

“I’m in the process of working with a number of communities,” said Jan Libbey, executive director of Healthy Harvest of North Iowa.

Wendy Johnson, Healthy Harvest of North Iowa board member, was at the session to answer any questions that council members had on a possible “edible arboretum” in Charles City.

‘We’re not asking the city for funding for this project,” said Johnson. “The goal is for it to be an educational tool.”

“Could be a real plus,” said Charles City Administrator Steven Diers regarding the arboretum project.

The arboretum would provide a public edible garden for community members.

“We could walk down there and pick an apple and eat it,” said council member Jerry Joerger.

Parking lot fireworks

TNT Fireworks is requesting to rent the Hy-Vee parking lot for fireworks sales.

Hy-Vee would interested in working with them if the council is favorable to the idea, Diers said.

“The city needs to petition the Board of Adjustment for that use,” Diers said.

Charles City owns the parking lot, so any business would have work with the city to allow its use.

“When you say building I assume you mean tent,” said council member DeLaine Freeseman.

“Hy-Vee being in favor of it surprises me,” said council member Keith Starr. “Them being in favor makes it easier.”

Council member Michael Hammond was concerned because the parking lot is the city’s staging area during floods, and the tents could impede that ability.

“I can’t articulate why, but I have a feeling this isn’t a good idea,” said council member Dan Mallaro, adding that a year ago fireworks were illegal in Iowa before the law changed.

Pipeline insurance

A company that sells insurance on residential pipes going to the main city lines wants to use the city’s logo on a mailer that its send out to the population to solicit business.

National Service Line is requesting that the envelope have the city’s logo on it so it looks like it is coming from the city.

“I appreciate what they’re trying to do, but I’m not in favor of their approach,” Hammond said.

Mallaro, Starr and Joerger were not in favor as well.

Council goals

The council went over a list of goals including wayfinding signage, watershed/water quality, broadband, City Hall renovation, nuisance policy and Charley Western Bridge demolition and replacement for 2018.

“This is a list to help us focus on very specific things,” Diers said.

No official action was taken by the council during the planning session.

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