City Council Declares Special Election


by Charlie Comfort

Oskaloosa, Iowa – Oskaloosa City Council is moving ahead with a special election for voters to consider approval of a measure to raise the City’s hotel-motel tax by 2%. At the December 7th City Council meeting, the Oskaloosa City Council voted to approve calling a special election for March 2nd, 2021.

According to City Council documents, revenue from the proposed 2% increase would be used to further promote recreation, tourism, and economic development; as a means to address project needs identified through initiatives such as the Oskaloosa Creative Placemaking Action Plan. Oskaloosa is one of 17 communities that are below the maximum rate of funding for a hotel-motel tax. 163 Iowa communities have a hotel-motel tax.

In response to a question from City Councilor Doug Yates, City Manager Michael Schrock said that the Oskaloosa Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee would likely be enlisted to help educate the community and promote the ballot initiative.

On a roll-call vote, the resolution calling for a special election unanimously passed.

The Council also discussed the approval of a road construction project, which would see the total replacement of a road considered by engineering staff to have “failed.” The project proposal would call for W. Glendale Road and McMullin Road, within the Meadowcreek Subdivision, to be reconstructed entirely and sidewalks to be constructed on one side of the new road. Existing water and sewer lines would not be replaced, as City staff determined the existing infrastructure was in appropriate shape.

During a public hearing on the project proposal, concerns were raised about the addition of sidewalks and the wisdom of spending over $1 million on a project perceived by some to be a “road to nowhere.”

During discussion by the Council, Councilmembers Steve Burnett and Doug Yates sympathized with the project’s cost versus actual traffic. However, Burnett added that he did not want to “kick the can down the road” any further concerning the project. He also indicated his strong approval of sidewalks’ addition to the project and that he would not vote to remove sidewalks, noting that the project cost is $50,000 out of an over $1 million project.

City Manager Michael Schrock said that while the project is slated to begin in April 2021, it likely will not happen at that time as the City is working to secure funding. The project is expected to take four months and will be conducted in four one-month phases. During the first three phases of the project, traffic in the subdivision will enter and exit the subdivision using a temporary road constructed from the far Northwest side of the subdivision to Cowen Ave, near Mid-American Energy.
The Council ultimately approved the project on a unanimous vote.

The next meeting of the Oskaloosa City Council will be on December 21st, at 6 p.m.

In other action, the Council:
• Approved a resolution release part of the improvement bond for Marje addition.
• Approved a resolution adopting a revised fee schedule.
• Approved the first reading of an ordinance amending the City’s electrical code, on a 6-1 vote with council member Tom Walling voting no.

Posted by on Dec 10 2020. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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