The Kahoka Board of Aldermen faced a packed council chamber at their Monday night, May 14 meeting. The hot item on the agenda was Mayor Herb Butler’s veto of the city wage ordinance, which he called arbitrary and unfair, that passed in April. In response, many of the city’s employees were on hand for the meeting.
City Electrical Generation Supervisor John Williams felt his raise was fair, but said, “You have a lot of guys working side by side with such different wages. What this does is cause friction,”
Water Generation Supervisor Kevin Eagle said, ‘I’ve invited council members to come see what I do. Nobody has ever shown up, yet I’m evaluated without any idea what I do. I have three times the responsibility of others. I have to work with DNR and the EPA. I don’t think you made a fair decision.”
Several other employees expressed similar opinions, including Chris Plant, who has received 13 certifications since becoming employed.
“When I got this job, I thought it would be good to come back to my home town to work. We all work hard and are proud of what we do.”
Alderman Jeff Wood called for an override vote, and Alderman Curtis Mack read a prepared statement in response to Mayor Butlers’ veto letter. Mack’s statement said all employees were evaluated openly by the mayor and council, and all votes were unanimous. He pointed out that the employee handbook gives criteria for raises including department head recommendation and performance, and that Mayor Butler’s veto was “nothing but a ploy to look good before the city.”
“We see what’s going on in the city,” added Wood. “We’re not ostriches with our heads in the sand. You need to ask yourself-Did I givethe city eight hours work, or seven, or six, or five. And if I go somewhere else, how much will it cost to drive, and what will they expect?”
After discussion, the board voted 3-0 to override the veto, with Alderman Jerry Webber excused due to conflict of interest.
Steve Howell, owner of Steve’s Family Dining, to discuss expanding his business. If he acquires the building adjacent to his business, he would like to have access between the two buildings, but fire codes require fire doors be in place. He asked that the council waive that requirement. The council agreed to have City Attorney Rick Roberts work that issue out.
John Bloom of Lewis County REC was on hand to discuss the possibility of serving Kahoka.
“Right now, there are a lot of municipalities approaching the cooperatives.” Bloom said because of their capacity, the only way they could serve Kahoka would be for Kahoka to join the cooperative, and REC would be obligated to serve them.
The board took action to approve the delinquent accounts resolution, which would require outstanding utility bills to be paid before service would be reconnected. The vote was 3-1, with Alderman Wood casting the dissenting vote.
In other business, the council:
--Awarded bids for new residential sidewalks to Bash Concrete.
--Awarded a bid for a tractor/mower/tiller to Wiss and Wiss, in the amount of $13,400.
--Approved continuing city franchise fees at current levels.
--Approved a two-year contract extension to Kohlmorgan Hauling for solid waste disposal.
--Discussed the city’s obligation concerning the exposed wall of Kathy Shipley’s building adjacent to the demolition site on the north side of the square.
--Accepted an agreement with Clark County Rural Water purchase rights to serve the Delta Street project.
--Gave general consent to selling used vehicles. Bids will be advertised.