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Meal deal still being chewed on by Toledo Council

January 1, 2014
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Paying for meals for Toledo city employees who work long hours during emergencies has been on the plate of the city council since at least the Nov. 11 regular council meeting. Then, Beth Miller, of Bowman and Miller PC, the city's audit firm, recommended the city establish a firm policy about the meals.

Since that time, the issue has been "hashed over" at each council meeting without resolve.

It remained that way Monday night, Dec. 23, with it again put back on the menu for City Attorney Mike Marquess to bring a written policy before the council when they meet on Jan. 13.

The meal deal is this:

for many years, some say 30 years, some 40, the city has bought meals for city crews when they are working long shifts plowing snow from city streets or in emergencies such as a water main break which requires workers to stay on the job until the repair is made.

volunteers, including students from the Iowa Juvenile Home, helping the city with clean up day activities have been rewarded with a meal following the days work.

Miller, the auditor, says providing the meals is not illegal. But she says it is only afforded to some city employees, is technically employee income and is not found to be done in the other cities she audits over a 30-year career.

the employee union representing city workers recommends continuing the policy "consistent with past practice and in an effort to maintain a harmonious and productive working relationship with its employees."

the city spent a total of $804 for meals according to records compiled by City Clerk Julie Wilkerson. This included restaurant bills for snow plowing, spring and fall clean up and water main breaks.

In her report, Miller admitted the amount "is very minimal."

In other business the council:

learned Genesis Development is operating what is believed to be a group home of some type in the Columbian Court Addition on the city's south side. City officials said the covenant for the development specifies only single-family homes are allowed. If rehabilitative services are being provided, the operation may be allowed, council members said. The home is privately owned and believed leased. Genesis Development operates Pheasant Ridge Care Center, the former Tama County home north of Toledo. Capacity there was reduced from 40 residents to 16 under new federal funding guidelines earlier in 2013.

reviewed a written request for $250 to support ACCESS - Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support - to "help ensure ACCESS is meeting the needs in the community." The request said ACCESS is a new provider of victim services in Marshall and Tama counties and is based in Marshalltown. Council members said the request should be made during budget hearings.

set the budget hearings to begin on Monday, Jan. 6.

approved a Tama-Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce "St. Patty's Day LepBARchaun Chase" for Saturday March 15 from 8:30 a.m.- noon. The event will be a 5K Run beginning at the Town Pump in downtown Tama and following a course along the South Tama Recreation Trail to Ross Street in Toledo, east to West Street, north to High Street and east on High to the downtown stoplight at Broadway and High and on the Bumblebee's on North Broadway. Toledo Police will assist with runners crossing U.S. Highway 63 at High Street.

approved a transfer of a total of $2,000 from the General Fund to the Solid Waste Collection Fund due to all budgeted money being spent in that fund and $10,000 from the emergency Fund o the General Fund to pay budgeted and upcoming expenses. Voting in favor were council members Brian Sokol, Travis Mullen, Elmer "Skip" Wilson and Terry Goodhart. Member Jeff Filloon was absent.

approved a liquor sales license renewal for Bumblebee's Bar and Billiard.



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