Dettmer reluctantly re-appointed Council president

The Humboldt City Council held its regular meeting on December 18, 2023. This is the final meeting of the year. 

All Council members and the Mayor were present. 

A motion was made to approve the claims as presented. There were questions on a bill from Midwest Engineering Inc. for $1,104.00 submitted to the City of Humboldt. 

The claim was for an engineering consult for the pool allegedly ordered by Council Person Dale Ohem.

Councilperson Dettmer voiced some concerns that it was a possible misappropriation of funds, but Ohem said that he spoke to the Pool Committee, and they were going to cover the cost, and the bill was sent to the city by mistake. 

Dettmer said a councilperson ordered it without anyone else’s knowledge, which is a misappropriation. While she is glad the Pool Committee will pay for it, she felt there needed to be more transparency. 

Wilhelm reiterated that they were unaware that the bill would be sent to the city, and the Pool Committee had already approved it through Rick (Karas) and wasn’t authorized to go to the city. 

Wilhelm brought up the purchased employee shirts, saying they were not budgeted or approved and should have been voted for and budged by the City Council. The Mayor said they were cov-ered by an anonymous donation and paid for. 

“If we want other departments to buy things, we need to set a precedence like everyone else,” said Wilhelm. “And be respectful and do the same thing we want them to do.”

The claims were approved as presented with the exception of the $1,104.00 to be paid by the Pool Committee, with a tie vote, Wilhelm and Oehm, yes; Lynch and Dettmer, no; Mayor Rathbone voted yes to approve. 

The People Service report was given. Coliform samples were taken in mid-November, and the results were negative. At the end of November, it was found that the ceiling at the Pawnee well-house was leaking and starting to sag. The Council and Rural Water were notified, and the process of repair commenced. A composite sample was taken, and the results came back with high ammonia, which is now out of compliance with the state. The proper paperwork has been filed, and corrective actions have been made via the state recommendations. Iowa Pumps brought the #1 sludge pump and reinstalled it after warranty work. ABF tower pump was found to be inoperable due to the ongoing electrical problems afore mentioned and fixed by Davis Plumbing.

Humboldt Rescue has been selected to participate in the AVEL Telehealth Pilot Program. The program is being piloted through DHHS EMS via grant funding. The service would cost nothing for the first year, with the estimated start date being May 2024.  

Avel eCare Specialty Clinic provides access to medical specialty care through high-definition, interactive video technology.

Through the touch of a button or a phone call, the Squad has access to clinicians and specialists who help enhance services. Their emergency medicine experts can help with a variety of actions and procedures ranging from airway management and trauma care to ECG interpretation and medication decisions as appropriate. The Avel team can also call the receiving hospital to alert them that a patient will be arriving soon. 

After a year, the cost would be $30,000. The council approved the service for a year at zero cost. 

The creation of a Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners was tabled. 

The City Square Fountain was discussed.  

Councilperson Lunch said she has spoken with some people in the community, and they are concerned that the bricks they have paid for that are at the fountain will be taken out, and they would like to see them restored. 

Councilperson Wilhem said she spoke with Colonial Acres about using some of the parts of their fountain they are not using.

“There are some people in the community who have been here a lot longer than I have; I don’t think it’s going to go over too well with them if we take this out,” said Mayor Rathbone. “There’s a lot of families, people who donated bricks, spent a lot of money to build that to begin with. I can certainly understand we need to put some money into that to repair it and get it back up to snuff. I don’t think I’d be for recommending tearing that out and putting something else there. I think a lot of other people in the community feel the same way.”

There were some questions about if the bricks could be taken out and used again in reconstruction. 

The discussion was tabled. 

A discussion was held about the City property roof conditions after the hail storm during the County Fair in September. 

Lynch said the Auditorium and Library roofs look good, but City Hall has some holes and the Fire Station is also in bad shape. An Insurance Adjuster will be contacted to come take a look at the damage. 

Mayor Rathbone said he would like to see constituents contact Darla and request being on the agenda to address the council starting in January. Public Comment will still be on the agenda. 

A discussion about the revision of a statute regarding the definitions of kennels, licenses and requirements was tabled. 

An election for the council president was held. 

Lynch nominated Dettmer. There was no second, and the motion died.

Dettmer nominated Lynch. Lynch refused the nomination. 

Wilhelm nominated Oehm. There was no second, and the motion died. 

Rathbone called for a five-minute break at 7:05 p.m.

After the recess, the Mayor asked again for nominations

Oehm nominated Wilhelm. There was no second, and the motion died.

Lynch nominated Dettmer again. Dettmer seconded it. Wilhelm and Oehm voted no; Lynch and Dettmer voted yes, with Mayor Rathbone voting yes. 

The Mayor also assigned Council members roles with different departments for the second year. 

Heading the Economic Department will be Jan Wilhelm, with Dale Oehm as a secondary member; Parks/Pool: Vicky Lynch as head of the Department and Rhonda Dettmer as a secondary member; Streets: Rhonda Dettmer as head of the department and Jan Wilhelm as a secondary member; and Water and Sewer: Dale Oehm will act as the head of the department with Vicky Lynch as a secondary member.

Appointments were made to boards and commissioners. Most positions will stay the same, but Deputy City Clerk Heather Hardesty was named as the Nuisance Hearing Officer and Deputy Zoning Administrator. Deb Lewis will replace Carol Rexroth on the Colonial Acres Nursing Home Board, and Kelly Shupp resigned from her position on the Library Board. There will also be a change to the Housing Authority Board. 

Four locations were designated as places to post City Council meeting dates and times. Notices will be posted at American National Bank, Niders the Humboldt Post Office and The State Bank of Table Rock. 

An ordinance to amend the Code of the City of Humboldt to establish compensation for appointed and elected city officials passed, giving the librarian a $3.13 per hour raise.  

Council members Lynch and Dettmer questioned the library raise, saying they had some budgetary concerns.

A member of the audience said they would speak to the Friends of the Library to help if they need it, but right now, they don’t pay a librarian assistant and wanted them to factor that into their decision. 

The Mayor made closing remarks regarding the recalls at the end of the meeting. 

The next meeting of the Humboldt City Council will be held on January 8, 2024.

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