Citizens can pick up sidewalk funding requests

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Spencer City Manager Bob Fagen told council members Monday night that citizens interested in participating in the community's sidewalk initiative plan may begin picking up applications at the city office.

"Based on the phone I've gotten early on, I think this is going to be a success," Fagen said.

Calling it a "good news program for the public," Fagen and the council announced plans for the sidewalk grant in November.

The Spencer City Council unanimously authorized the city to spend up to $100,000 to provide incentives to residential property owners in Spencer wishing to install new sidewalk or replace any existing sidewalk in poor condition. The initiative will allow residents to collect reimbursement for the cost of the concrete as long as funds last.

This component is part of a multi-phase approach to meet a goal set by the council, at a goal-setting session, to fix existing or add new sidewalks throughout the community.

"It's just for the concrete portion of the work at a rate set by the Public Works Department," Fagen reminded.

Fagen called the application "user friendly."

In addition, as part of the initiative, policies governing existing sub-standard sidewalk conditions and the installation of new sidewalk, in relation to upcoming infrastructure projects, existing governmental properties and planned subdivisions, were also put into place.

"I'm very proud of the city of Spencer for offering this incentive," George Kruger, Ward 1 councilman, said in November. "It would be very advantageous for anyone thinking about replacing their sidewalk to take advantage of this."

Fagen also notified the council of a potential concern regarding negotiations associated with "fiscal cliff" conversations at the national level.

One of the cost savings measures being discussed involved the elimination of the tax-free status associated with municipal bonds.

"That would literally add thousands of dollars," Fagen said. "The interest rates could double."

The city manager encouraged the council and anyone else concerned with the issue impacting municipal bond status to contact their local legislature.

Spencer Mayor Reynold Peterson, who also serves as the President for the Iowa League of Cities, told the council, "I did sign a letter on behalf of the League of Cities. It does have implications if they do away with those."

In other business

Mike Harleman, Spencer's nuisance officer, provided the city with a list of community service projects for the year. Harleman received 2,265 service hours from court-appointed volunteers and another 664 from those in the community wishing to contribute.

Margaret Becker, area manager with Veolia Water, provided a quick presentation on the services her company provides the city of Spencer.

"Spencer is taking advantage of most of the offerings we have," Becker said.

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