FROM THE DESK OF THE MAYOR
Dear Citizens of Belle Plaine:
HAPPY NEW YEAR BELLE PLAINE:
I HOPE THIS IS A VERY POSITIVE YEAR FOR EVERYONE WHO LIVES, WORKS, OR PLAYS IN THE CITY OF BELLE PLAINE.
As a city government we do not start the new year out like our citizens with a new fiscal slate. Like all governmental operations in Iowa we have just reached the halfway point in our fiscal year. Even though we have only completed six months of our budget year, one of the first items the city council will be doing in January and February is setting the new budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2017. While this means extra hours for the council & Mayor it means even more work for the city administrator and the clerks as they must create the new budget using previous budgets and then trying to predict what the state legislature will do concerning certain items for the city budget. With control going to the Republicans in both houses and a new Governor about to take office it will be a different experience. At least with only one party in control there should be no reason for the legislature to not finish early and give the local governments and the school districts their budget news in a reasonable time.
Other major items that the city government will be working on as we start the new year will be to finish reviewing and in some cases rewriting the city code. It must all be updated both in language and in agreement with the state code. We have been working on this project for about six months and hopefully within the next three to six months it will be completed. Updating the city code is never truly completed. It is a document that must be reviewed and updated within each year.
One of the items I did want to discuss is snow removal. We really have a new snow team this year so it is taking us time to get all the working parts into place. People never realize how much we come to rely on certain individuals until they retire. There was no doubt in my mind that Bruce Jacobs for years has done an excellent job in coordinating our snow removal process. Now that he has retired and we have a completely new crew that is doing sidewalk snow removal from Main Street area and from all city owned property it has taken us some time to get the operation moving as smooth as we want. There is no doubt that we did not handle snow removal in the business area very well on the second snow storm. We definitely had a break down in communications that left our Main Street area poorly plowed. We have since solved that problem and hopefully we will not have that situation happen again. The major things I will say about snow removal is the snow storms never arrive to make our decision easy when it comes to using our snow emergency declaration & the forecasts, while they may be better than 50 years ago they are still only predictions so when they get it wrong there is a good chance our call for a snow emergency or no snow emergency could be the wrong call. We will do our level best to get everyone’s streets cleaned in a timely fashion and try to make the city streets as safe as we possibly can make them. We do not have the same equipment as the state so we will probably never do a job equal to theirs. Plus we are dealing with a lot of seal coat streets which makes it a little tougher to clear than a state highway. Also we will not be sending a sidewalk crew to clean Main Street sidewalks except when we call for a snow emergency. You will only see our sidewalk crew removing snow from city owned property when there is no snow emergency.
(Library, community center, fire station, city hall, etc.)
If you see an area that we have missed please call city hall and let us know. We will correct it as soon as we can. Hopefully we won’t have to call too many more snow emergencies the rest of the year!
I had an interesting conversation with one of Senator Joni Ernst staffers’ right before Christmas after I had sent them an e-mail that said maybe a visit to Belle Plaine might connect her with more people from four counties than doing a stop in Vinton & then Tama. They promised that she will make a trip to Belle Plaine for either a question and answer session at the Community Center, a tour of Frontier Co-op, or a walking tour of our Main Street + the Museum or possibly a combination of these activities. When I know you will know and if we do have a question/answer session at the community center please bring your thoughts and ideas to the session. Sometimes the best way to inform our government leaders is through direct contact especially if they are in the area. Often the best way to let the city know is to come to city hall or go to a council meeting or contact a council person with your concerns or questions. If we don’t know there is a problem we certainly can’t figure out a solution.
Yes we know that the new sump pump ordinance has created a problem on Rainbow Drive and as a city we will figure out how to solve the problem. Unfortunately other than extra salt, sand, & plowing a permanent solution will not be completed until this spring. We are working on that solution.
Remember the month of January goes fast so if you are going to see some of our high school athletes in basketball or wrestling play before tournaments you better take a look at the January schedule. As a coach I know how fast that month goes be!)
(That also includes the cheerleaders, dance team, &/or pep band.)
As always “Go Plainsmen.” Remember it is up to all of us to make
Belle Plaine the best hometown in Iowa!
Mayor Dave Fish – January 2017