Council discusses snow, floods

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 29, 2000

Snow and flooding was on the minds of city officials this week.

Friday, December 29, 2000

Snow and flooding was on the minds of city officials this week.

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City Administrator Pat McGarvey said that because of the severity of the snow piling up, he is sure that emergency preparedness services such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be mobilizing before the coming spring, in an effort to prevent severe flooding problems.

Concerns regarding the snow and flooding were brought to the City Council by residents this week. Mayor Bonnie Rietz and council members promised to forward their concerns to the appropriate committees and city departments.

Although Wednesday’s council meeting was expected to be lengthy, public hearings rescheduled from the agenda shortened the session considerably.

A third concern was raised by a resident regarding the Murphy’s Creek area. A resident of the mobile home park stated that the park’s owner was told years ago that Murphy’s Creek would never be used for anything but an industrial park. Now, with residential development being planned for the area, the citizen wondered why the park’s owner was not allowed to use the area for another mobile home park.

McGarvey said that it originally was the intention of the council and the City’s Planning Commission to use the area for an industrial park, but with the updated comprehensive plan, they have just recently considered allocating the land for something other than a business district.

McGarvey went on to say that a portion of the area may well include manufactured homes in the future.

In other council business, Council Member First Ward Mickey Jorgenson asked the council to table the approval of the by-laws of the Austin Part-time Firefighters Association, so that it can be discussed in detail by the Fire and Personnel Committees.

"I would also like to suggest devoting an entire meeting to the proposal with representatives of the firefighters and Chief (Dan) Wilson in attendance," said Jorgenson.

Third Ward Council Member Dick Lang agreed with her suggestion and Second Ward Council Member Roger Boughton suggested that the two new city council members should be involved in the discussion.

Other council business included:

n New Austin sewer user fees were approved, which will increase rates from 25 to 97 cents a month, depending on the number of units used.

n The council approved the two-tiered insurance rate increase for retirees. The plan will increase rates $20 to $60, depending on each retiree’s plan, on Jan. 1, 2001 and again on July 1, 2001.

n The council approved Rietz’s appointments to various boards and commissions.

Nancy Clark, Liliana Silvestry, Lee Bjorndahl and Gary Morgan joined the Human Rights Commission Dec. 18; Pat MacLean and John Hagen have been reappointed to the commission.

Denyse Hompe, Paul Nelson and Carol Gilbertson were reappointed to the Library Board by the Mayor.

Gary Quednow and Mark Hecimovich were reappointed to the Park and Recreation Board.

James Cavanagh was reappointed to the Fire Civil Service and Belita Schindler was a new appointee to the Police Civil Service Commission.

Sue Grove and Sue Howard were both reappointed to the City Planning Commission.

The council increased the mileage reimbursement rate to align with the federal allotment at 34.5 cents per mile.

The council approved liquor licenses for the year 2001 for those applicants who met all requirements.

The council approved the Mayor’s appointment of Officer Mark Haider to fill the vacant sergeant/investigator position.

The council approved the appeal of off-street parking requirements made by U.S. West Communications. U.S. West will be allowed to add nine parking spaces instead of the required 10, because of its close proximity to additional parking lots.

The council approved First Congregational Church’s appeal to sign size requirements. The church will be allowed to install two 24 by 30 inch signs.

Employment agreements for Director of Administrative Services Tom Dankert and City Administrator Patrick McGarvey were approved at the meeting.

Access Austin was eliminated by the council, but Rietz stressed that issues can still be brought before the council or her office and will be forwarded to the appropriate departments.