Toledo's City Council members might have finally reached an agreement to solve the janitorial issue, which was a hot topic at the last two budget meetings, as it breezed through several approvals last Monday night.
For the past two months, the city's janitors have been a topic of discussion during the special budget sessions. While the salaries have been brought up, they weren't the main issue. City Clerk Julie Wilkerson told the council it's an issue of the city's auditors advising the City of Toledo to keep better records and make the janitors contract cleaners.
The city council took that next step with a unanimous vote on Feb. 11. The Policy and Administration recommended the janitors for the Community Building and Police Department building become contract cleaners. The recommendation was approved with a 5-0 vote.
Dwayne and Pam Wood clean the Community Building, while Deb Peska cleans the Toledo PD office. They will have 30 days to provide a W9 tax form and proof of liability insurance before City Attorney Nancy Burk can draw up contracts for all of the janitorial positions. Burk suggested the city consider doing the same for whoever cleans the Toledo Public Library, along with hiring someone to clean the other city buildings, including the fire department and public works offices.
"We will go with the same pay amount, but we need the Woods and Deb Peska to go as private contractors so we don't have to put them on city wages," Council member Terry Goodhart said.
The Toledo City Council also approved several other quick items at its regular meeting last week. The council listened to a quick presentation from Dave Stoklasa from Snyder and Associates about a Service Agreement Contract for the proposed new Water Treatment Plant. The contract had three service areas - engineering, construction and additional.
The engineering costs were $219,000 and the additional costs are hourly estimates in the amount of $4,000. The construction costs will be figured after bids are received and the contract will be amended at that time. The council voted 5-0 to approve the contract with Snyder and Associates.
In other news, the city council approved two items for the Tama County Community Foundation. The TCCF has started a project and would like to hang a recipient's plaque at the Reinig Center, along with holding its award banquet at the Reinig Center for free. City Council member Travis Mullen said the TCCF wouldn't use the kitchen and wouldn't be having a meal, but wanted the $75 fee waived.
"I thought we just went through all of this that we're going to have to quit that," Mayor Dave Svoboda said about waiving the rental fees for organizations. "For my two cents worth, I think we are defeating our purpose here. We said we're going to charge any meeting that's down there anymore. Now we already want a donation out of it. But you guys do what you want out of it."
Mullen and Council Member Brian Sokol informed the council that a date for the banquet hadn't been set, but it might be in March. They also said the plaque would probably be hung in a glass case inside the building.
"It will bring at least one, if not two, group from every community in the county," Sokol said. "They want to use the Reinig Center. We thought it would be a good way to promote the center. It's a way to keep people coming to our community."
With no strong opinions voiced, the city council approved both items for the TCCF. The approval of renting the building is pending the availability of the date requested.
The city council also approved Police Chief Bob Kendall to hire a couple of reserve officers, which Kendall said are needed. He also said he has one candidate right now that should be a good fit. His request was approved unanimously.
The last piece of action was to opt out of the Code Red service. It was used three times last year and it would cost the city $1,371. Council Member Jeff Filloon was frustrated that the service wasn't used last year when an escaped convict was on the run and in Tama County.
"I saw we opt out," Filloon said. "I felt that the time they should have used it, they refused to use it. When Blackhawk County had the escaped convict, it should have been implemented county wide and they refused to use it.