City Notes: Happenings around Charles City

By Steven T. Diers, Charles City Administrator

Hello everyone!  Here are some of the things happening in town that I’d like to share and update you about.

City Budget Work – City budget work for the fiscal year starting July 1, 2017 (Fiscal Year 2018) is nearing completion.  Overall, valuations in the city have generally increased due to added construction projects and new values coming onto the tax rolls.  Growth is good and necessary to fund services and projects in the City.  Levy rate is holding relatively steady, but is increasing by three cents and is expected to be $15.81572 per thousand dollars of taxable valuation for fiscal year 2018.  There are a number of ongoing projects that will be part of the FY18 fiscal year which I will delve into next time, but safe to say it will be a busy year.

Simply Essentials – Opening/Main Street Discussion – Simply Essentials Poultry has started operations and is working toward getting to full operational status for first shift.  One of those steps is the completion of a new private force main that will move wastewater from the current smaller sewer line that goes down Main Street, over to a larger sewer line that was formerly used by the White Farm operation.  This will allow wastewater to flow down a larger line and in a more direct path towards the Waste Water Treatment Plant relieving the amount of flow that would need to go down an already heavily used line.  This is expected to be operational in the next couple weeks.  Review of the possible expansion utilizing a portion of Main Street directly adjacent to the plant continues as Simply Essentials would like to use the additional space for increased packaging needs.  In addition to allowing additional on-site development this will allow the City an opportunity to address an increasing traffic control problem in the area, while maintaining easy access to the Main Street areas.  Work here could also include bike trail expansion/connection and ability to safely cross North Grand Avenue.

Broadband Local Fiber Study – Next Step – The local Broadband Commission made a recommendation to the City Council to send out requests for proposals (RFP) to seek firms to do the remainder of a feasibility study associated with starting a local City fiber/broadband offering.  The initial “pre-feasibility” study conducted by Smart Source Consulting found very strong local support to move forward with this project.  Smart Source was also working with the cities of New Hampton and Maquoketa on researching the same information from the public.  Of the three communities, Charles City had the most respondents, as well as the highest overall approval rate where 82.9% of survey respondents (online and by paper survey) said that they would be “somewhat likely” to “very likely” to switch to a community broadband product if one were to be built.  City Council approved this recommendation and the City will be seeking proposals in the coming weeks.    

New Waste Water Treatment Plant Progress – Facility design on a “new” water pollution control plant, or Waste Water Treatment Plant are nearing completion.  There are three different types of designs that have been looked at.  One in particular appears to fit our needs and currents assets well, allowing us to meet new wastewater capacity needs from the public, meet new tighter federal and state water quality mandates, as well as being able to utilize existing infrastructure at the plant, some of it fairly new.

RAGBRAI – Committees are being filled for the 2017 Charles City RAGBRAI event.  If you are interested in being part of the celebration, either by being on the planning committee or a volunteer during the event, please let us know.  This is a great event which only comes around every once in a while.   If you haven’t volunteered before and are looking to get involved, RAGBRAI is a great opportunity and a fun event.  You can contact city hall or the chamber office if you’re interested for more information.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me.  My email is: steven.diers@cityofcharlescity.org or you can give me a call at: 641-257-6300.  Have a great day!

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