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home : news : news Sunday, May 1, 2016

1/15/2014 Email this articlePrint this article 
Charlotte water project near completion

Jennifer Reed Murrell

With unanimous approval to hire JJJ Enterprises of Lowden, Charlotte's water project finally will be complete. During the Jan. 7 monthly meeting of the city council, it was determined the installation of a valve inside the new pump house is all that remains of the project.

An e-mail from city engineer Bob Meyer of the Moline, Ill., firm GM Engineering states an interior valve at the new pump house "would be helpful, particularly in the winter time."

While Bettendorf contractor AJ Excavation estimated the work would cost an additional $3,400, council members expressed a desire to be done with the project and the existing contractor's inability to finish the project.

The final payment has not been made to AJ Excavation as there are costs to be subtracted, such as grass seeding and pavement work the contractor was to have done, but the city will do itself.

JJJ Enterprises submitted a bid for $2,635.55 for the valve replacement, which the council accepted.

Jahn terminated as city water supervisor

The council voted 4-1 to terminate the employment of Marty Jahn and Duane Levien following the violation of a prolonged agreement Jahn would acquire certification in water and sewer treatment. While the council acknowledged Jahn does not require the certification to do the work, he told the council at its December 2011 meeting, he would complete it within 18 months.

Levien, Jahn's backup, who lives in Wheatland, was not available to the city on a daily basis.

The issue came to a head during last month's council meeting at which Jahn complained he did not have enough time to complete the training and ultimately said he would not do so. He later stormed out of the meeting.

"After last month, something needs to change," mayor Sellnau said.

Tempers flared as councilman Perry Lamp, the lone dissenting vote, argued Jahn was doing his job and did not believe he should be fired. Lamp cited "personal issues" for inciting the termination. "It seems we're picking and choosing here," he commented.

Council person Kellee Clarke referenced a history of conflict with Jahn and asked Lamp, "What can you possibly say that's a positive?"

Lamp countered by stating Jahn has not had any formal job evaluation.

Jahn was scheduled for a closed-session employment evaluation during the evening's meeting, but he did not attend. Resident Larry Ploog noted, "You're having (an evaluation) tonight, and he's not even here to back himself up."

Lamp continued, "No laws are being broken . . . the job is being done."

Several council members noted receiving complaints about Jahn's job performance. Lamp argued if residents are unhappy, they should fill out a complaint form available at city hall.

In terminating the employment of Jahn and Levein, the council approved hiring previous employees Tom Witt and Rob Witt at the monthly rate of $450 each. Tom Witt will oversee sewer management while Rob Witt will take over water management.

Ganzer returns to fill clerk position

Following the resignation of city clerk Savannah Sieren, the council discussed the six applicants received including ex-city clerk Lori Ganzer, who vacated the position to take a full-time clerk's position in Bennett.

Ganzer attended Tuesday's meeting and explained the Bennett clerk opted not to retire, leaving her available. Ganzer vowed she would not take "any lateral move," reminding the council she helped train Sieren.

"It's not like I stiffed you," she said.

Sellnau acknowledged Ganzer is the most experienced of the applicants, and the council unanimously approved re-hiring her at $9.50 an hour with office hours set at 2-4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. She will start Jan. 13.

The council also agreed to increase the hourly rate of pay for maintenance staff member Rhonda Marlowe to $10 when she does any snowplowing. Several council members noted the good work of the maintenance department.

Department head Peg Myers reported she and Marlowe have been busy but are handling the weather. The replacement water meters are in and will be installed within the month.

When time allows, Myers hopes to create a catalog of city equipment including date of purchase, recent repairs, etc., in an effort to better monitor existing equipment.

Finally, Myers also noted a state truck broke a manhole cover which resulted in pieces falling into the city sewer. Myers presently is obtaining bids on having the debris removed and snaking the sewer lines in the area to prevent any backup. The state will reimburse the city $600 for the cost of the manhole.

CAAC sale tabled, Charlotte Days scheduled

During the public forum, resident Sandy Busch encouraged the council to follow appropriate measures if it decides to sell the Charlotte Area Activity Center (CAAC).

"We have other people that want to bid on that, and we need to follow state codes."

Mayor Sellnau assured Busch, "Every step will be followed exactly."

Resident Ploog also encouraged the council to include in the sale, an addendum stating the property be returned to the city in the event the property is unable to be maintained.

No further discussion was held on the possible sale of the building as the issue was postponed until February.

Later in the meeting, mayor Sellnau asked Mike Jensen of the group Citizens for Charlotte (CFC), which presently leases the CAAC and hopes to purchase it, if the CFC was planning to continue organizing the annual Charlotte Days Celebration in August.

"Until there's a reason not to," Jensen said, "we'd like to continue."

He noted the 2014 event will be held Aug. 22-24 and announced the CFC will host tractor pulls in Miles May 24-25 and Aug. 9-10.

Councilman Lamp asked if the CFC ever would provide a financial report on Charlotte Days. Although the city had no financial investment in the event and the group is not required to disclose anything, he agreed to do so.

"It's not like we're hiding anything," Jensen said, adding he could have something together by the next council meeting.

Jensen noted activity at the CAAC remains strong, specifically the morning and evening fitness classes.

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