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Reduced parking may be solution to Wieting traffic safety concerns

November 20, 2013
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Some steep costs may be avoided if there's two less angle parking spots on the south side of East High Street in downtown Toledo. That was the recommendation of Toledo City Council members Brian Sokol and Elmer "Skip" Wilson to the full council on Monday night, Nov. 11.

Mark Tanke, a Wieting Theatre Guild member, brought concerns to the council on Oct. 28 about traffic visibility at High and Church streets. He said more activities at the theatre since the $1.4 million renovation project has increased pedestrian and vehicle traffic in the area. He warned "some kid is going to get hurt or killed" and suggested making the intersection, which is adjacent to the theatre, a four-way stop. Currently East High is a through street and north-south traffic stops on Church Street.

Sokol said he had consulted with Kenny Bacon, Twin Cities Construction owner, about building some type of concrete islands on High Street for placement of stop signs. Sokol and Wilson said it was believed this would require the entire corner to be rebuilt and sidewalks brought into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The cost of this could be $40,000, they said.

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Instead, they proposed eliminating a pair of parking spaces on the southside of High at the Church Street corner with the intent of improving visibility for motorists.

Mary Ann Gardner, owner of the Trojan Inn Cafe located on the north side of High Street, spoke objecting to the loss of parking spaces. "Traffic is zip compared to what it was 20 years ago," she said.

Wilkerson Hardware owner Tom Wilkerson suggested the possibility of a portable, four-way stop sign for placement in the High - Church streets intersection.

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The parking spaces are in front of the former Horbach Furniture Store which has been purchased by the Shoestring Garden for possible future development but is currently not occupied and on the north side of the theatre building.

Wilson also mentioned the apparent existence of a sub-ground level store front under the Horbach building sidewalk which could further complicate rebuilding the intersection for stop signs.

Council members agreed to try prohibited parking in the two parking spaces through the winter to see if the action will solve the problem. Paint to mark out the spaces would be the only cost involved Mark Zmolek, Public Works director said.

Auditor Recommends Council Establish Meal Policy

Beth Miller, Bowman and Miller, PC, the city's audit firm, told council members Monday night during a report on the 2012-13 audit, they need to address the purchase of meals for city employees. The practice has been done during snow removal operations and city-wide clean up.

"Comments have been made this has been going on for 30 years and nothing has been said," Mayor Dave Svoboda said.

Miller said of the cities her firm audits, this was the only instance in some 30 years she could recall the issue has surfaced.

"There's nothing illegal, keep it above board. It's entirely up to the council (and) just has to be documented in the audit report," Miller said. She said the cost of the meals would be considered income for the employees. In addition, they are only provided for select employees.

Noting "the amount of money is very nominal" Miller said it must be weighed: "Does it serve a public purpose?"

"Financially things are looking up," Miller said of the overall city money picture.

"You are carrying a lot of debt for a city of this size," she said. She said the limit for Toledo is $4.7 million and the city is carrying $2.5 million in obligations.

Council members said this position was forced by the Department of Natural Resources which threatened fines if the city did not build a new waste water treatment plant.

Next is construction of a new water treatment plant of which Miller said the council must weigh revenues to pay for the work.

In other business Monday the council:

approved a resolution concerning a proposed improvement project by Marshalltown Medical and Surgical Center for the Tama-Toledo MMSC Clinic.

awarded Charles Boeker, Marshalltown, continuation of farm leases on city-owned land including the XYZ property known as the Reinig farm and a 37-acre tract near the waste water treatment plant at the 2012 lease rate. Boeker was inadvertently not informed of the termination of the leases by Sept. 1 as required by law. He appeared at the council meeting on Monday and said he was agreeable to either continue or would forgo the leases. How much are the amounts?????

approved 1st reading and waived three readings of a Hotel-Motel Tax amendment which raises the rate from five to seven percent effective Jan. 1. The measure was approved in a public vote on Nov. 5.

tabled a request for use of the Reinig-Toledo Civic Center for an Tom Jones Meets Elvis Tribute Show in May, 2014. To be researched is if the City Code allows for private, for-charge shows at the center. The show is emceed by former Tama resident Ronny Craig (Craig Pleugher.)

approved payment totaling $7,542 for equipment and installation of the new 18-hole disc gold course at the Toledo City Park to Gateway Disc sports, Maryland Heights, Mo.

approved hiring Nathan Wunn, Gilman, as a police patrolman at a salary of ????? Wunn previously lived in Tama and served on the Tama Fire Department and Ambulance Service. He will be required to take the full Iowa Law Enforcement Academy training program. He replaces officer Brian Randall who joined the Tama County Sheriff's Office as a deputy sheriff.

withheld payment of a bill totaling $1,275 to Thys Chevrolet, Toledo, for repairs to the 2011 police department pickup truck. Police Chief Bob Kendall said an officer accidentally backed over a tree stump while checking on persons throwing toilet paper north of the South Tama High School in the Toledo city limits during Homecoming week. Council Public Safety Committee members will report to the full council on Nov. 25.

set a budget amendment hearing for Nov. 25.

approved a building permit for John Hayek for a 2,500 sq. ft. house at 705 Countryview Dr. at an estimated construction cost of $300,000.



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