Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Dec. 17, 2001

Funding for Waverly royalty float discussed

By Lynda Jensen

The Waverly royalty float highlighted the Waverly City Council meeting Tuesday.

Resident Darlene Henry asked the council several financial questions about the float. The float is legally owned by the city.

First, Henry asked if the city would store the float on city property. Insurance, which is provided by the city, dictates that the float must be covered and stored to protect it, she said. The city owns the float, although its maintenance and upkeep has been performed by people associated with the royalty.

Mayor Charlie Bush commented that the city had insured the float to help the queens committee, not to get roped into additional responsibilities for it.

"We didn't realize it had strings attached to it," he said.

Maintenance supervisor John Rassat indicated that city doesn't have any storage room for this.

Bush pointed out that the city donates $1,200 toward the float each year. "That's feasible," he said.

"The float represents the city," Henry said. She estimated its worth at roughly about $10,000.

Henry indicated that a recent converter repair for the lighted float came to $100, and asked if the city would give anything toward maintenance costs.

Bush indicated the money the city donates should help cover maintenance.

"Does the queens committee have enough to cover (the converter cost)?" Bush asked.

"Yes," Henry said. "For now. Next month? Maybe not," she said.

Henry also asked if a city truck could be used to pull the float during parades, and if personal vehicles are used, if parents could be reimbursed mileage for this service.

Reaction from the council seemed to make this unlikely, at least for this year since the council was in the process that very night of adopting its 2002 budget.

Councilor John Hertzog advised Henry to borrow a truck from Holt Motors, which Holt may do if a magnetic sign that indicated the truck was courtesy of that company could be used.

"This is a midnight run right now," Bush said, referring to the financial cycle for the city. "We'll look at it next year," he said.

Electronic sign

The next item of discussion was the decision to go ahead with an electronic sign, to be purchased by the city.

Currently, the city uses an older lighted sign that uses plastic letters affixed to it. Several organizations and private residents use the sign to advertise events.

The existing sign is time consuming to city employees, which was evident by complaints from the public works department as far back as 1992.

In recent years, the city has tried to get volunteers to put up and take down the letters, but this has not worked out, Ryks said.

It was noted at a prior meeting that it takes about an hour for the sign to be set up for a new advertisement, and the letters are not always returned when other people affix their messages themselves, Ryks noted at a previous meeting. Sometimes the plastic letters are not returned, and usually people do not bother to take messages down after the event, Ryks said.

The sign is a bit controversial, since the Citizens State Bank of Waverly offered to share its new electronic sign along Highway 12 with the city, and allows messages to be posted on sign for free.

The city turned down the bank, instead toying with the idea of its own sign, which will cost the city about $28,000 or $884 per month over three years.

Ryks notified the council that there was a sum of about $30,000 that was not designated for any certain expenditure, which could possibly be used to pay for the sign.

The money is accrued interest from an account designated MPCA, related to the city sewers.

In a more recent turn of events, the city sent out letters asking for support of the sign from non-profit organizations. No figure was suggested, and it was noted that certain groups, such as the Waverly Boosters, would likely not be able to contribute.

Two organizations pledged support, the Knights of Columbus and the Waverly Gun Club, both of whom had members attend the meeting to declare their support.

Ken Loebertmann of the KC indicated that they thought the sign was a good idea.

The groups pledged $1,500 each over a three-year period.

"What about other organizations that freeload?" Loebertmann asked.

The council decided to give first priority to those groups that donated money, before others. Private parties will pay a fee.

Turning to other subjects, it was decided that the city will attempt to purchase the 902 Pacific Avenue property, recommended by the EDA.

The property has been a chronic problem for the council regarding the property owner's sewer system compliance.


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