FROM THE DESK OF THE MAYOR-April 2014
Dear Citizens of Belle Plaine:
I definitely hope by the time the citizens of Belle Plaine are reading this newsletter that spring is here. This has been a tough winter on everyone and I truly believe that includes the young, the middle aged, the older folks and anyone else who does not fit in those categories. I promise I will not complain about how many times I have to mow my yard this summer.
We have hired a new city clerk. Her name is Jackie McDermott and she comes to us with previous city clerk experience, along with office management experience from the private business world. I would hope if you find time that you stop in, introduce yourself, & welcome her to Belle Plaine. Please give her some time as she adjusts to our city halI, learns who our citizens are & becomes familiar to our system. “Rome was not built in a day & neither was the Belle Plaine City Hall”. As for the clerk’s office we know is more than a one person department & the vacancy created by the retirement in December has definitely proven that to many people. I know there are those who think that the clerk’s office can be handled by one person & you are entitled to your opinion. I also know I attended 100’s of athletic events every year & I am amazed at the number of fans I find who are convinced that they can do everything from manage a professional baseball team, to coach college basketball & football. There are also those who are convinced that they could replace either Coach Ferentz at Iowa, Coach Farley at UNI or Coach Rhoads at Iowa State. In most cases I serious doubt it!!!!!! That doesn’t even include all those people who think they can referee.
I can also tell you that the Council spent a lot of time & effort into the hiring process and their goal was to get Belle Plaine the best city clerk that they could find. It definitely was not done in haste, it was done towards consensus building within the council, & the key hiring competent was not the candidates mailing address or how cheap they would work. All factors were definitely taken into consideration as they worked through the process. The same factors will be used as they work through the process of hiring a new city administrator & replacing the deputy clerk.
Other city news is definitely the water situation for the City. I can guarantee you all factors will be weighed as we move forward with long term plans. Cost will be one of those factors. I have been warned that we should expect more water main breaks in the next few weeks as the ground totally thaws out. I do hope by the time you read this letter that all the residents with service line problems have had those resolved. What the council & I are starting to learn about our water & sewer infrastructure is besides being old; it is definitely not as complete as one would think. There are a number of streets & avenues that do not have city water mains & sewer lines on them. That does mean that there are probably a number of us who have very long service lines for those city services, including the Mayor’s residence.
In that same area of thought concerning water comes the issue of safety & quality. The safety factor is not an issue & I do not care what Face Book says!!!!! Well #6 was put through more tests than the DNR even requires of a new well. It passed those tests. The DNR on March 14 reviewed all our tests & what the city water department had done. They easily gave them a thumbs up.
I could go into a ton of details concerning everything from quality to how many gallons we use every day but I won’t. Let me simply say the quality of our water when mixed with the artesian water of well #6 or when we run well six by itself is not the same quality we are use to. It is definitely harder (caused by increased mineral content) and at times has a smell to it along with a different taste. Water softeners help with some of the issues but it may take some type of filtering process to truly improve them.
BUT THE MAJOR ISSUE OF IS OUR WATER SAFE? THE ANSWER IS “YES”!!!!!
Also the question that comes up is this a permanent solution & I do not have an answer to that. But I have now found three reports from numerous years that have looked at proposals to use #6 & build a water treatment plant. That proposal can or will be reviewed again by the city council & the real answer is do the city residents want to foot the bill through higher water rates or a surcharge to pay for such a plant. Yes, we can search for grants but there are no grants out there that will pay the total cost or anywhere near the total cost of a water treatment plant. This Council like many in the past will have to decide what road they will travel?
The council heard a preliminary presentation from Poweshiek Water at the March 17 meeting. This is not as simple as they just hook up to our water system. Their proposed plan is 18 miles of pipe from their Van Horne location & no matter how you figure the gallons we want, the expense will not be cheap. ($1.7 to $3.5 million) The council is not done with their research
Another major issue to me is what does it take to realize we have a fully staffed state certified water department who does all the daily testing of our wells, as well as all the monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, & annual testing that is required by the DNR. Their major mission statement is to provide the citizens of Belle Plaine with a safe source of water. Why would anyone take a rumor off face book or a statement from a someone who does not have state water certification about the quality of our water over the process that the City of Belle Plaine goes through with the DNR to bring a well on line. That makes about as much sense as me arguing with my doctor after my AC1 tests come back from the lab that my testing meter at home has to be more accurate than what the lab uses. The arguments could go on & on but the bottom line is the water is safe & nobody in our city government would allow the water source that goes into their homes, the homes of their relatives, their friends, or the people of Belle Plaine to be unsafe.
Before I forget I would like to thank City Administrator Bill Daily for all the effort & work he has put into the community over the past 25+ years not only in city hall but also as our Parks & Recreation Director. I’m not sure our Main Street Project would have got off the ground if he hadn’t help organize it. In every public job there are those who disagree with decisions. I know there are many out there who are glad you worked for the community. There is no doubt Bill has always put Belle Plaine first. Thank you for all you have done for the community and for the kids of Belle Plaine. Enjoy your retirement & hopefully citizens of BP will all remember when you have a complaint, don’t call Bill’s house any more!!!!!
As we approach this time of year I like to remind everyone, esp. with daylight savings time in place & warmer weather around the corner we will have more people riding their bikes, out jogging, on motorcycles + mopeds + golf carts & out walking so please be aware of that situation as you are motoring around town. It is not just the kids who maybe rusty with their bike skills so hopefully we all practice better defensive driving. Also to all those who are biking, jogging, walking, carting, motorcycling or golf carting I hope you take pre-cautions. Being right may make a strong case in a court but being right does not do you a lot of good if you are the one who got hit by some type of street vehicle…… What did Mr. Winkie tell us: you may be right but it could be DEAD RIGHT!!!!!
Get out & catch some of the spring sports action. (Track, golf, or the start of little league) Also remember the disk golf course is definitely open during our city park hours. (No golf carts or other motorized vehicles can be used to play disk golf!)
As always “Go Plainsmen”. Remember it is up to all of us to make
Belle Plaine the best hometown in Iowa!
Dave Fish-April 2014