Council hesitates on ‘Days rides
by Gregory R. Norfleet · News · October 12, 2012

City Council member Mark Worrell said he liked the inflatable rides at Hoover’s Hometown Days, but did not like the idea of paying the company half the money now to get a spot on the calendar next year.

He also expressed concerns that fewer people would donate to the community festival if the city designated tax dollars now.

For those reasons, the West Branch City Council last week agreed to table a $9,500 contract with Kid Again Inflatable Fun Shows.

The city hired Kid Again for $8,900 for the August celebration, City Administrator Matt Muckler said, but a $4,100 donation from Acciona Windpower and $2,500 contribution from the National Park Service meant the city only had to come up with $2,000 from its budget for the rides.

Muckler said the city got positive feedback on the inflatable rides and wanted to extend the hours of operation from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Worrell asked what would happen if Kid Again goes out of business; City Attorney Kevin Olson said the city “would probably lose the money.”

Worrell said he understands that booking such entertainment is typically necessary for summers filled with community festivals, but does not feel the city should risk the chance the company could go out of business. He asked if Kid Again could put the money in an escrow account to protect it.

“It’s not fiscally responsible in my opinion,” he said. “I like their show, I like what they do. But we’re talking 10 to 11 months away.”

Council member Colton Miller agreed.

Worrell said he also felt that the community needs to see Hoover’s Hometown Days worthy of private donations to keep it a vibrant event.

“More and more, I see costs showing up right here at this table,” he said.

Muckler said he would return with more information at the next meeting.

In other business, the council unanimously approved its part of an agreement to give a small parcel of land to Kay Gaskill in exchange for an easement necessary to build the lift station.

Mayor Don Kessler said Monday the city is still waiting to hear whether Gaskill accepted the offer.

Gaskill owns the property around the billboards near where the city wants to build the lift station and wastewater treatment plant.

The agreement also requires the city to grade (flatten) the land west of the right-of-way to allow for farming and to fill in or repair any damage to the property that might occur during construction of the lift station.

Worrell said he noticed that the contract no longer includes giving the city access to the property where the wastewater plant may be built.

Muckler said the city had an easement across that property until 2005 and he has yet to determine if that easement had been renewed, and, if so, for what purposes.

“But I want to get the lift station project moving,” he said.

Worrell said the absence of that agreement “makes me nervous.”

“It’s important we have that,” he said. “We’ve got to be able to get there.”

The council then approved an agreement to pay more than $12,600 to Rummells Farms for loss of income during and after construction of a forced main project going up south of Interstate 80 near the city lagoon.

Kessler said Rummells would then use the money to reimburse farmer Jim Slaughter for income he would lose during construction. Slaughter leases the land for farming.

The payment will be made all at once, but represents four years of farming, Olson said.

The dollar amount was reached by figuring Slaughter would be paid 100 percent of his losses in the first year, 75 percent in the second, 50 percent in the third and 25 percent in the fourth year. The declining reimbursement, Olson said, was because the land’s yields should improve every year it is back in production.

Kessler said the work should begin soon after the city reaches an agreement with Gaskill on the easement.

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