Area News Stories
OTTUMWA MAN ARRESTED IN STABBING
On Tuesday September 16th, 2014 at approximately 4:35 p.m., the Wapello County Sheriff’s Office responded to 201 E. Main St., Apt. 7, Agency Iowa reference a 911 call of a female subject that had been stabbed. As a result of the investigation deputies arrested Patrick Murray, age 59 of 201 E. Main St., Apt. 7, Agency Iowa for Domestic Abuse with Intent to Inflict Serious Injury and/or Uses or Displays a Dangerous Weapon in Connection with the Assault. The female victim was transported to Ottumwa Regional Health Center where she was treated for her injuries and released. Patrick is currently being held at the Wapello Co. Jail on a $2000.00 cash only bond.
CITY COUNCIL VOTES DOWN FRANCHISE FEES
In a surprising move Monday evening, the Oskaloosa City
Council voted AGAINST the 3rd and final reading of a measure which
would raise the city’s gas and electric franchise fees by 2% each. The vote
ended a nearly two month long debate over city revenue, which included charges
drawn towards the state legislature, among other parties. City Councilor Jason
Van Zetten, who has historically opposed an increase in the fees, again
expressed his belief that this only was being considered because of a funding
request from the YMCA. Van Zetten and other city councilors expressed their
continued belief that now is not the time to raise taxes. At the public
hearing on the matter held back in August, numerous members of the public rose
to speak against the franchise fee increase, with one member of the public
going so far as to call it a tax on the poor. The final vote last night was
4-3 against raising the franchise fee.
In other action, the council:
Unanimously approved the second reading of an alley vacate
request at 701 High Ave West
Approved a site plan located at 1302 and 1320 High Ave West for
a housing development referred to as The Reserves at Ironwood. The site plan
shows development for a new 48 unit apartment complex.
Approved, on a 6-1 vote, the appointments of Mike Vore to the
Oskaloosa Water Board and Sara Tarbell and Dawn Collings to the Planning and
The next meeting of the Oskaloosa City Council will be
October 6th at 6 pm in the City Council Chambers.
CITY TO HOLD SPECIAL ELECTION
The wheels for a special election were put into place Monday evening as the Oskaloosa City Council voted to ask for voter approval for a new fire station addition. The special election will be held in conjunction with the November general elections meaning that Oskaloosa residents will see a special ballot measure on their general election ballots. Voters will be asked to approve issuing nearly $3.2 million in general obligation bonds for the purpose of building an addition to the Oskaloosa Fire Station. According to Mayor Dave Krutzfeldt, the decision to ask for voter approval was the culmination of talks about different funding sources, including the use of LOST funds, TIF funds, or grants among other possibilities. The vote to send the issue to the voters in November was 7-0.
The council also again debated the issue of sidewalks located at the Tuscany Village development located on Edmundson Drive. Developer Brian Booy was required to resubmit a site plan for the project because according to City Manager Michael Schrock, major changes had been made to the original site plan. The Planning and Zoning Commission at their meeting last week recommended that the Council approve the new site plan, however they voted to waive a stipulation that Booy place sidewalks along the front of the development. At the onset of the meeting, Gary Green, the Chairman of the Tuscany Village homeowners association, spoke to the issue and said the residents at Tuscany Village did not support the sidewalks as currently proposed because he said it creates a dangerous situation. Andrew Jensen, MCDG executive director who also lives in the area of Tuscany Village, spoke regarding the sidewalks and said he supports the city’s requirement for sidewalks, saying it is more difficult to put sidewalks in after development of an area.
After additional discussion, a motion made by Versteeg and seconded by Councilor Jason Van Zetten to require Booy to place sidewalks in AFTER the city has placed a sidewalk that connects to Tuscany Village failed with VerSteeg, Van Zetten, and councilor Tom Walling voting yes. A new motion made by councilor Doug Yates to give Booy a 60 day extension on the sidewalk requirement deadline so that come to a fair settlement between the city, developer, and Tuscany village residents, regarding the sidewalk passed unanimously. The council also passed Booy’s updated site plan unanimously.
The council also discussed the raising the city’s franchise fee by 2%. Resident Waye Hook spoke during a public hearing on this matter saying he opposed the increase because “it’s a tax on the poor.” During discussion, Councilor Jason Van Zetten expressed disapproval with the move noting that the original franchise fee issue which came up in 2011 resulted in him running for city council. Councilor Tom Jimenez stated that if the council does not raise the franchise fee, they will likely have to make cuts to city services elsewhere. The request to raise the franchise fee came as a result of the city losing revenue, which according to city council documents, is due to property tax reform enacted by the state legislature. The council ultimately voted 4-3 to raise the gas and electric franchise fees by 2%. An updated revenue purpose statement for the franchise fee revenue raised also passed 4-3. Councilors Jason Van Zetten, Aaron VerSteeg, and Tom Wallling opposed the franchise fees being raised, and the updated revenue purpose statement.
The City Council also voted against calling a special election to dissolve the water board. The item was brought forward by City Councilors Jason Van Zetten and Tom Jimenez. Van Zetten said that he believed since the Water Department had in his opinion misused nearly $1 Million in tax payer monies, he believed it was time to call for a special election to ask the voters whether or not to disband the Water Board. City Councilors Doug Yates and Tom Walling both expressed concerns that proceeding towards a vote would send the wrong message. Yates and Walling also said that they believed with a recent court ruling and a new water board member, they said it was time to try to work with the board. Ultimately, the vote on sending a measure to the public on abolishing the Water Board failed 3-4, with councilors Aaron Ver Steeg, Jason Van Zetten, and Tom Jimenez voting Yes.
The next meeting of the Oskaloosa City Council wil be on September 2nd at 6 pm in the City Council Chambers.
FIRE DEPARTMENT REMINDS RESIDENTS OF STORM SIREN PROCEDURES
The Oskaloosa Fire Department wants remind everyone that we are entering warm weather months and severe weather season.
Weather permitting, the storm sirens in Oskaloosa are tested at 2pm on the first Monday of each month from April through September.
The outdoor storm warning sirens will be activated if the national weather service has issued a tornado warning for Mahaska County and the tornado is headed in a direction that would likely affect the city of Oskaloosa. Also, if a trained storm spotter indicates to the 911 center that a severe thunderstorm contains damaging winds and or hail, the sirens can be activated.
Northwest Iowa jailer fired, accused of harassment
LE MARS, Iowa (AP) — Plymouth County has fired a jailer accused of sexually harassing a co-worker and eavesdropping on other staff members.
Court records say Daniel Kersbergen, 27, of Le Mars, is charged with misdemeanor assault and electronic eavesdropping. A court hearing on his case is scheduled for Sept. 29. A public phone listing for Kersbergen couldn't be found. Online court records don't list the name of his attorney.
According to a Plymouth County news release, a co-worker said Kersbergen had made sexually suggestive remarks to her and used his stun gun to intimidate her. During an internal investigation of the allegations, officers found a recording device in the jail that they suspect Kersbergen had placed to record other staffers without their consent.