West Liberty recognized for recycling

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, June 11, 2014
While Mayor Robert Hartman wasn't in the building for the city council meeting June 3, he joined the council via online chat. On the docket for the evening was recycling, water mains and accounting.

The City of West Liberty was recognized for its recycling efforts for the year of 2013 by Laura Liegois, the Solid Waste Manager for Muscatine.

She presented the plaque on behalf of the Muscatine Recycling Center, City Carton and the City of Muscatine. West Liberty sends the recycled goods collected at the WL recycling center to the center in Muscatine.

She stated the community recycled a total of 148 tons, or a total of 296,000 pounds.

"If you put that into some perspective," said Liegois, "That's 2,519 total trees that were saved, 1,037,120 gallons of water saved, 68,598 gallons of oil saved, 74 homes powered for one year and 453 cubic yards of landfill space saved."

Of course, the year of 2013 saw problems with West Liberty's recycling program come to light. It was discovered that bins of plastic and tin were being rejected in Muscatine due to contamination.

"This last year I know there's been lots of discussions about recycling and what to do… there's probably going to be more in the future," she added. "I commend all the residents who have gone the route of recycling and bringing the items in clean."

She stated that City Carton, the company in charge of accepting recycled goods in Muscatine, hasn't had anything negative to say about West Liberty's plastic or tin materials lately.

Next, more details on the water main replacement project on Sixth Street were presented to the council, including the use of directional boring and the installation of a sidewalk.

"We're going to do a lot of this very similar to the way we did the Seventh Street project, it's going to be done with directional boring," said City Engineer for Veenstra and Kim Leo Foley.

Directional boring is a process by which underground pipes are installed by cables underground in a bored out path, eliminating the need for a trench.

The reason for directional boring is to save as many trees as possible. According to Foley the method is becoming more popular with a similar cost to any other installation procedure.

Water mains are the main line in water supply throughout the city, while valves maintain the flow of water. The construction is part of upgrading West Liberty's water system.

However, the city is also planning to put in sidewalk on Third and Clark Street and other areas, examine drainage issues and repair concrete at one of the intersections.

"We're spending time and effort there, it's kind of turned into a big project," said City Manager Lawrence McNaul about the additional work being added to the project.

A final price hasn't been decided as of yet, the project is still out for bids. However, it's estimated it will cost around $190,000.

The city will receive bids for the project June 11 and award the contract on June 17. If all goes according to plan, construction will begin early in July and end in early September.

Finally, the city's office staff is requesting that West Liberty change from accrual accounting to cash basis accounting in order to help it's employees have a realtime look at the city's finances.

"When we talked to the auditors they asked why were on an accrual basis," said WL City Clerk Missy Carter. "Most cities our size…are on a cash basis."

Under the accrual method money transactions are counted in the books right when an order is made or a service is delivered.

Basically, fiscal revenue is recorded when it’s earned and expenses are recorded when they’re completed, regardless of when the money is received or spent.

In cash method accounting transactions are only recorded when the money is received or spent. This results in books that are more up to date than the accrual method.

It's like having a checking account. One can check on his or her balance and transactions at any moment, instead of waiting for the money to go through.

"If you’re on a cash basis it gives you a real time picture of where we are at, so it's much more transparent for all of you and the public to see," said Carter.

The council approved moving to a cash basis accounting method, not just because it's a more common and clear method, but because the city would save around $24,000 when it comes to state auditing.

According to City Manager McNaul, it won’t effect any of the city's current bonding. The only downside will be the few months it takes for the city to get used to the system.

In other news…

-The council approved a vender/voucher claims list in the amount of $235,581.23.

-The council set a public hearing for the rezoning of the 1100 block of Elm Street for July 1 at 7:30 p.m. The area is zoned for heavy industrial; however there are several commercial businesses in the area.

It will look into rezoning it to commercial business in order to bring those businesses in line as well as allow others to move into the area.

-The council granted permission to a request from the Parent Teacher Organization to use Kimberly Park for a fundraiser on Aug. 9 contingent on the PTO's ability to provide insurance.

As long as PTO acquires insurance with a rider that lists the city as an additional insured, it will be able to have inflatables, a dunk tank, use of the pool and access to the Wulf Shelter.

-Pamela Romero was sworn in as a reserve officer by City Manager McNaul. Reserve officers have many of the same responsibilities as a police officer, but a full time officer must be present and on duty.

Romero joined Isaac Sarinana, Maria Lara, Brian Hintermeister, Walter Debock and Kevin Flynn in the program.

-The city will allow the West Liberty Area Arts Council to hold it's annual Music on the Park series in Ron-de-Voo Park. They will be held four consecutive Friday nights starting July 25, with music from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

-Former mayor of West Liberty Chad Thomas approached the council to question a policy at the Kimberly Park Pool that requires someone of at least 15 years of age to accompany children 7 or younger.

He stated that he's unaware of any incidents that would cause such a rule in West Liberty, plus a lot of babysitters are under the age of 15. The council will look into it in the following weeks.

-The council approved authorizing City Clerk Missy Carter to file an electric utility inspection and maintenance plan with the Iowa Utilities Board.
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