They held the second of two budget workshops Tuesday. Department leaders from Public Works, Police, City Hall, and Planning and Zoning all presented their priorities for not only 2019, but the next five years. With Public Works presenting, the council outlined the street projects they’d like to next address as well, including an asphalt overlay on Broadway Street.
Extensive discussion was held after a presentation about converting two gravel roads in the community to hard surface — 218th Avenue from near the Pella Soccer Complex to Shady Brook and 218th Place leading up to St. Mary’s Catholic Church.
City staff recommends waiting until fiscal year 2020 to tackle the resurfacing, on the condition the council can develop a policy to address similar requests in the future and adequately annex property for both projects, as only a portion of each road is in the current city limits. Councilmember Tony Bokhoven expressed frustration has been mounting in the Shady Brook neighborhood for having to use a road he calls nearly undrivable during the fall, winter, and spring months. Bokhoven also strongly felt the project should be handled next year as opposed to waiting, as he says it’s been overdue to get both gravel roads resurfaced. However, Mayor Jim Mueller and Councilmember Bruce Schiebout both preferred looking to see how the annexation process pans out before taking action on a specific project.
The council also agreed to consider an eight percent increase in wastewater rates tied to a potential $5 million in upgrades required for the city to keep a permit issued by the Iowa DNR. Overall, the rates may rise 24-25 percent in total by 2021, depending on when other debt held by the city is paid off in the coming years.
The Pella City Council will hold a public hearing for the 2019 budget at their Tuesday, March 6th meeting.