Council approves buying generator; debates building inspection service

By Mary Zielinski
Posted 2/18/99

Regardless of what Y2K may or may not do, the Kalona City Council agreed Monday that power shutdowns can come from natural sources and voted to purchase an “industrial strength” generator.

The …

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Council approves buying generator; debates building inspection service


Regardless of what Y2K may or may not do, the Kalona City Council agreed Monday that power shutdowns can come from natural sources and voted to purchase an “industrial strength” generator.

The $18,200, diesel-powered 80 kilowatt unit, for which delivery is promised within 30-40 days, will be portable, so it can be used not only in city facilities but also throughout Kalona.

City Administrator Doug Morgan told the council that the Y2K problem may prove to be minor, but it would not be wise to be unprepared.

“I have had residents tell me that they can live without electricity and heat, but not without water,” said councilman Steve Reif.

Council members said that whether or not Y2K shuts down anything, Kalona did have major power outages from the June 29 storm.

“There are other things that can go wrong,” noted councilman Jerry Kauffman.

In fact, Kauffman stressed that he was in favor of buying a generator, but that it be a portable one to provide power wherever it would be needed.

Morgan had reported about the possibility of obtaining a used unit that was 25 years old and would cost between $7,000-$9,000. However, there would have been moving costs and the unit would have to be a permanently installed one.

Morgan asked if the council wanted further information, but all agreed they were ready to vote for purchase.


The council met with Steve Lee of Van Winkle-Jacobs of Coralville to discuss contracting for building inspection services. Lee’s firm provides that type of service to Solon and is considering a similar one with Mt. Vernon.

He explained that the services would be provided by request and that “we ask for 24 hours notice.” However, they have accommodated shorter notice.

Although the city maintains liability, largely because it requires and issues building permits, the firm does have a $2 million errors and omissions policy, Lee said.

Council members asked if the inspection fee could possibly cause someone to go elsewhere, but Lee said that the addition of $500 for a $100,000 home would not be a deterrent.

The inspections would cover everything from footings and foundations through electrical, plumbing and completed building.

Reif asked what about older property that doesn’t meet code and was told if no changes were made to the structure, it would not be affected.

There were further questions about enforcing a building code, and council members agreed they anted additional time to consider the issue.


Following a public hearing at which no objections were noted, the council approved a $1,2987,953 budget for fiscal 1999-2000 that will see a 10.55015 levy that is slightly lower than the current 10.76131 levy.

Although there were increases in Community Protection (police, fire, etc.) of 4.42 percent and in Human Development (health, library, recreation) of 6.19 percent, there were drops of 5.28 percent in Home and community Environment (garbage, streets, etc.) and of 2.03 percent in Policy and Administration (primarily wages). The latter reflects, in part, not having replaced a long-time city employee who retired in December.

Even more, Kalona is looking at going into fiscal 2000 with at least $100,000 in reserves, the approximate difference between the re-estimated 1998-99 budget of $l,206,932 and the estimated fiscal 1999-2000 one of $12,298,953.

In other business, the council:

•agreed to gradually phase out the Low Rent Housing Board by not replacing members whose terms expire by 2002. The board’s purpose was met with the building of the original low-income housing project and the services are essentially duplicated by the governing board of the units.

•confirmed the city committee and commissions appointments that virtually remain uncharged.

•agreed to consider purchasing treadmills for the city’s recreation program.

•agreed to help with the youth ball program since the Kalona Optimist Club’s support will be lower without additional fund raisers.


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