Sheldon, Iowa — When the Sheldon City Council met Wednesday they gave their approval to the final plat of the Prairie Trail Addition. This establishes six lots zoned Arterial Commercial along the west side of 34th Avenue from the Taco John’s property, south to the roundabout near the Crossroads Pavilion Event Center. The area directly to the west of that property and directly South of the eastern part of Farm Credit Services is now zoned as multiple family residential property.
In other business, the council passed on to its second reading an ordinance change that will clarify the need for zoning permits. In the past the city has required that whenever a fence, billboard or sign is to be erected, the property owner must first obtain a zoning permit. This ordinance change will strengthen that requirement by clarifying the language in the City Code.
The council also heard the first reading of a new Water and Sewer Ordinance. This change will result in an eight percent increase in the charges for these services.
Tom Fouss of Perspective Insurance spoke to the Council to update them on the health insurance program for City employees. This is a self-funded program with five single insureds and 25 families. Fouss commented that the current plan is a ‘benefit rich’ plan, that is very beneficial to employees. When asked about some possible changes to the plan, Fouss explained that the current program is now ‘Grandfathered in’. If any significant change is made the City would have to issue insurance based on requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
And, the Council agreed to change their regular meeting dates to ‘Summer Hours’, meaning the next meeting, on the first Wednesday of June, will be at noon. The meetings on the third Wednesday of the month will still be at 4:30.
Original story posted at 9:54 pm 5/17/17
Fireworks and Solid Waste Collection were two of the most debated topics at a lengthy Sheldon City Council meeting Wednesday. Now that Governor Branstad has signed a bill making the sale and use of fireworks legal in Iowa, cities such as Sheldon have to decide on how they want this to affect their communities. Sheldon Police Chief Lyle Bolkema voiced some concern about the dates that the use of fireworks would be legal under the new law. This use would now be legal from June 1st until July 8th, a period of 38 days. Bolkema said that because of this, people would start using fireworks much earlier than they have been. The other time when the state law allows fireworks use is from December 10th to January 3rd. Bolkema also pointed out the need to get the right information out to the public, noting that the police department recently followed up on a fireworks complaint in Sheldon. The party using the fireworks thought it was okay because they had heard that fireworks were now legal in Iowa.
Another problem facing communities is the lack of information on who can sell fireworks. According to the new law, cities can ban fireworks in their community, but cannot prevent their sale. After discussion the council asked that city officials begin drafting an ordinance for review at the next council meeting. They suggested that it be consistent with the Iowa code, but, with shorter time periods for fireworks use.
In other business, the council reviewed the contract with the City’s two solid waste haulers, Schwarz Sanitation Service and DeKruif Sanitation that expires August 1st. The two sanitation firms had suggested a four year contract with an increase of 75 cents per month on all households the first year, followed by a 25 cent increase for each of the following three years. They felt this was necessary because of an increase in fees at the landfill. The council also addressed the fuel surcharge that is added to residents monthly bills when diesel fuel prices go over $2.50 per gallon. After considerable discussion the council voted to approve a one year contract with a 75 cent per month increase. The contract also provided for a fuel surcharge to become effective whenever the diesel price reached three dollars per gallon.
The council and the haulers also discussed the problem of people leaving an excessive amount of items for them to pick up. The City code states that there should be no more than two 32 gallon containers, or one large 65 gallon container. One suggestion was for the collectors to tag and photograph excess items and report them to the City office. The city would then levy a fine based on the Nuisance law. There was also discussion about mandating that everyone use the large 65 gallon containers. Since these can be dumped into the trucks mechanically it would eliminate the need for a second person on the truck. However it was not determined who would pay the high cost of these containers.