August 19, 2022

Mayor vacancy to be filled by special election

At the June 21 city council meeting, City Administrator Ty Wheeler discussed with council the resignation tendered by mayor Matthew Stoll dated June 15, 2022.

Wheeler said it was the recommendation of the city attorney to accept Stoll’s resignation, and explained to the council that city code [5.10 Vacancies] allows for two different methods to fill the mayoral vacancy. One option is for the council to either fill by appointment - choose someone to fill the position - which must be done within 60 days of Stoll’s resignation. The other option is to fill by special election, which will automatically happen if the council does not fill by appointment. In response to councilwoman Missy Cline’s question about the cost of holding a special election, Wheeler said it was about $3,000.

The council approved Stoll’s resignation, and Wheeler suggested that they ask the county auditor to set the special election date as far in the future as possible; councilman Douglas Gay concurred.

“I would like to give our constituents enough time to think about it, [and] if they want to run, run,” said Gay.

“I think we’re going to get a variety of people that could be interested,” added councilman Dan Hooper.

”If you’re interested in it, get the petition going,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Dr. George Fotiadis. “This councilman does not want to appoint the mayor; that is the people’s job.”

“Even though we could do it, I don’t think we should,” said Gay, making a motion for the county to post for a special election allowing for as much time as can be given. The motion passed, with a date to be set by the auditor’s office.

Pigs

At the council meeting on June 7, council heard from the residents of 525 S Lincoln in regards to the ten mini pigs that live at their residence. The City of Osceola has an ordinance against livestock in town, and allowed the owners six months to re-home the pigs, with possible consideration for the council to look at and amend the present ordinance as they so choose.

Both Wheeler and owner Jake Salazar presented council with a variety of information about mini pigs, including the American Mini Pig Association’s suggestions on zoning, a copy of home visit performed by Dr. Caves of Osceola Veterinary Clinic, and additional information on the size of the pigs, who range in weight from 90 to 130 pounds.

Council discussed what changing the ordinance could look like for future cases involving other varieties of animals not traditionally thought of as pets. Hooper suggested reevaluating the living situation again in 30 days with new paperwork from the vet. Gay reminded Salazar that the council is still moving forward with Fotiadis’ upholding of the ordinance from June 7.

City staff were asked to start the drafting of an ordinance in the event council wishes to define mini pigs as separate from livestock and the allowable number per resident, with the discussion to be continued at the second council meeting in July.

SIRWA

During Wheeler’s city administrator report, he shared with council a letter that Clarke County Reservoir Commission (CCRC) had received from Southern Iowa Rural Water Association (SIRWA) regarding a funding request for the CCRC lake project. The letter, dated June 16, 2022, stated that both SIRWA and Creston Water Works were in a self-sustaining situation that made the construction of the reservoir an unwise of SIRWA’s funds, and that SIRWA’s board had determined that further contributions to the lake project cease.

Councilman Tom Bahls asked if the claims of self-sufficiency had been questioned. Wheeler said that he had sent a reply indicating that a discussion needed to be had about them no longer purchasing water from Osceola. Fotiadis added it would free up a lot of water for Osceola, as the city is currently drawing above the lake’s DNR licensed capacity.

“I bring this to the public’s attention because there has obviously been a significant investment made in this project over the course of two decades or better,” said Wheeler. “We’re trying to pursue federal dollars with a project that has a plan that’s going to update, justifying the need based on use from one of our largest users that now apparently no longer exists. I think it presents a tremendous level of uncertainty.”

Other items

Other topics of discussion at the city council meeting included approving the Iowa DOT 3R Project that will take place along Highway 69 south of Pearl Street involving four intersections, the budget amendment for the FY 22 budget, and the approval of the Emergency Action Plan for Grade Lake Dam as the result of Iowa code updates. City residents with a Tuesday garbage pickup should note that due to the holiday on Monday, July 4, Tuesday’s pickup will be delayed one day to Wednesday, July 6.

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.