Council Approves City Manager’s Raise, Re-Schedules Blue Zones Support Vote

Oskaloosa City Hall

Oskaloosa City Hall

By Eduardo Zamarripa, CRI Weekly News

Oskaloosa, Iowa – On Monday night, the Oskaloosa City Council unanimously approved raising the salary of City Manager Michael Schrock, and re-scheduled discussing the resolution stating the city’s support for the Blue Zones Project because of a tie vote. 

The council approved raising Schrock’s annual salary from $111,000 to $117,660. In addition to that, the council extended Schrock’s contract through June 15, 2018, and approved a $4,000 performance evaluation bonus. That bonus is based on an annual performance rating that’s evaluated by the council. These changes will be effective June 15. The council discussed Schrock’s evaluation in a closed session.

Last year, the city council raised Schrock’s salary from $103,720 to $111,000.

The council also voted on a resolution stating the city’s support towards achieving Blue Zones certification. That vote ended on a 3-3 tie. Councilmen Doug Yates, Tom Walling, and Joe Caligiuri voted in favor of the project. Councilmen Jason Van Zetten, Aaron Ver Steeg, and Tom Jimenez voted against the project. Councilwoman Scottie Moore, who’s spoken in favor of the Blue Zones Project in past meetings, did not attend the meeting.

City code states that in the event of a tie vote, the resolution is moved to the next city council meeting, which is on June 16 at 6 p.m.

In order to achieve Blue Zones certification, the city has to select community policy pledge items that total at least 17 points (each item has a point value). The council selected those items in its last meeting, and now had to vote stating support for those items.

Here are a few examples of what the city is considering:

  • Adopt a comprehensive smoke-free policy for all indoor workplaces and public places and a comprehensive smoke-free policy for all outdoor workplaces and/or public places (three points).
  • Establish a healthy food-and-beverage policy at city-sponsored youth sporting events (one point).
  • Adopt healthy vending standards in municipal buildings and public parks (one point).
  • Restrict mobile vending of unhealthy foods near schools and public playgrounds (one point).

Yates says he wants the project to move forward.

“I’ve received significant feedback, and with the exception of the feedback I’ve gotten from three council members, that’s the only negative (feedback) I’ve gotten from anybody in the community about Blue Zones,” Yates says. “Everybody that I’ve talked to wants this to happen.”

Van Zetten says he supports Blue Zones, but does not believe city government should be involved with the project.

“I’ve heard the other, opposite end of the spectrum,” Van Zetten says. “This isn’t a government initiative and that’s the way this thing’s been proposed.”

The council will vote on the resolution in the next meeting. The deadline for approving the support for these items is June 9. However, the Blue Zones Project received an extension from its Healthways sponsor to extend that deadline to June 16.

Next meeting, the council will also vote on a request to waive sidewalk maintenance for a parcel located west of 1103 Woodland Road because of a tie vote. Jimenez, Yates, and Caligiuri voted against waiving the sidewalk maintenance. Van Zetten, Walling, and Ver Steeg voted in favor of waiving the maintenance.

The city council unanimously approved the following items:

  • A motion approving pay request No. 3 to Norris Asphalt Paving Company ($402,836.27) for the C Avenue East and North 3rd Street Pavement Rehabilitation Project
  • A resolution authorizing the approval of pay request No. 1 to Steven’s Concrete ($75,167.80) for the First Avenue East Sidewalk Project
  • An ordinance amending the city code by amending provisions pertaining to school loading and unloading zones (second reading)
  • An ordinance that establishes a ‘no parking’ zone along both sides of South 4th Street from 15th Avenue East to a point that’s 25 feet north of 15th Avenue East (second reading)

The council also approved the first reading of an ordinance to vacate and sell a part of the north-south public alley adjacent to 505 4th Avenue East on a 4-2 vote. Ver Steeg and Caligiuri voted against selling the alley. The owner of the property located at 508 3rd Avenue East says that selling that alley impedes access to the property’s garage, and reduces the value of the property. He currently has people renting the property. A couple of council members told the property owner to tell his renters to slow down, and clean up the garbage in the alley, and then the council might change its vote in the next reading because that would fix the traffic and garbage problem.

The next city council meeting is on June 16 at 6 p.m.

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