Kerian hired for Park Director

CRESCO - Brandon Kerian was approved as Fitness Center/Parks Director at Cresco’s May 3 City Council meeting for $25 per hour.
The Park Board received nine applications, explained board member Kris Riley. “It was a tough decision. We talked to five people in person, and Brandon was our main guy. We’re pretty excited about his hiring.”
Kerian will be starting in mid-May, which will give him time to give notice at his job and finish up the track season as assistant coach. Bill Caffrey will train him until his retirement in August. At that time, there will be four full-time employees, a reduction from five. Duties were moved around after the recent retirement of Rick McCarville.
• In other business from the meeting, Nate Widell, public works director, reported grants were received for trees from Trees Forever and Branching Out programs. In addition, Janet Andera donated $2,000 for the April 30 Arbor Day planting of a tree at Kessel Lodge in memory of Bob Andera.
~ The chlorine injector on Well #3 was replaced and being re-cased. Luckingly the problem did not affect the 220,000 gallons of water used to fight the apartment fire on Pine Place.
• Police Chief Tim Ruroden said the newest officer, Ben Hillyer, was set to graduate from training on May 21.
• City Clerk Michelle Girolamo reported she had cancelled the Front Desk Program. She reported it cost $2,000 to sign up for the program and an additional $960 for a year’s service, which allowed customers to log into their accounts. 
The company said no to a refund, but she is still trying to get one since the program hasn’t worked, and the company misrepresented what the program could do.
The program was supposed to be up and running on Jan. 1, but didn’t go live until March 11. “We’ve had nothing but problems.”
All employees signed off on agreeing to follow City policies.
Girolamo is concerned about losing money coming into the City from the commercial backfill for property taxes, which the legislature is looking to cancel. Legislators are also considering reducing City revenue for the Elderly Tax Credit. Both of those policies would be a blow to the City budget.
• In committee reports, Council person Amy Bouska stated, “At the HCED (Howard County Economic Development) meeting, all our ears perked up when Robin Schluter (Regional Health Services of Howard County CEO) said [Howard-Winneshiek CSD] is looking at taking the athletic contract to Winneshiek Medical Center.”
~ Council person Richard McConnell announced the Airport Commission received a pledge of $10,000 for the Airport Runway Reconstruction project.
~ Library Director Cynthia Kay reported the Library Board is looking to reduce the number of board members from nine to seven. “We have one position that hasn’t been filled for two years. This would be put on the regular election ballot in November.”
~ Jason Passmore of Howard County Business & Tourism gave an update of Chamber happenings. “There is a ribbon-cutting for Cresco Family Pharmacy (at the old Sterling Pharmacy location) on May 19 at noon. On June 1, there is an open house for CPU at their new location, next to the Chamber. And there is a Family Fun Night on June 3. There are no bouncy houses, but there is an outdoor movie and games at the fairgrounds.”
• Council approved a rezoning request that was recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission. The property, at Lot 9, Block 28 in Baldwin’s Addition, was rezoned from M-1 to C-2. The M-1 zoning required a set back on the property of 15 feet, severely impacting the size of a building.
• City Council members heard a proposal on a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) from Elizabeth Hanson of Midwest Municipal Consulting. She explained what her responsibility would be in a CIP, helping the city to make long-term plans for large projects.
• Craig Fencl with Howard County Conservation Board is applying for grants for bike trails (Prairie Springs and Prairie Farmer). It is hard to receive  a grant with so many applicants, but by offering a 10% commitment for the Prairie Springs Trail, it should help in gaining a grant. Both trails received a letter of support.
• To help garner favor from the grant-processing committee in regards to work on the airport runway, Council committed to a 5% increase in money toward the Airport Runway Renovation and Repair Project. In addition, they agreed to commit to completing the joint and crack sealing portion, a total cost of $75,000 to the City, in FY 2026.
• Public Hearings were set for Monday, May 17, for amending the ordinances for water and sewer rates. The City is planning to raise the water rate by 6% and sewer by 4%. The first of three readings was held on May 3. 
• Council will amend the Urban Revitalization Plan, which is set to expire in Dec. 2021, to expire on Dec. 31, 2026. In addition, there will be a tax abatement on the first $75,000 of value added for residential property for five years; a tax abatement on 100% of value added for commercial property for three years; and tax abatement on 50% of value added for residential property with three or more dwelling units for 10 years.
• Council again discussed more options and requirements for the 7th St. SW drainage issues.
The next City Council meeting will be Monday, May 17 at 5:30 p.m.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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