Riverside sees council election confusion

By Paul D. Bowker
Posted 11/16/21

A strange twist, courtesy of election rules, left Riverside City Councilperson Kevin Mills sitting in the audience at the City Council’s regular meeting Monday night.

Make that former …

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Riverside sees council election confusion

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A strange twist, courtesy of election rules, left Riverside City Councilperson Kevin Mills sitting in the audience at the City Council’s regular meeting Monday night.

Make that former councilperson Kevin Mills.

And future councilperson Kevin Mills.

Sound confusing? Actually, it is.

Mills, who ran unopposed and won a four-year term in the city’s elections on November 2, was appointed to the City Council on June 21 following the resignation of former City Councilperson Jeanine Redlinger. The appointment was supposed to run through the end of the current year.

But when Kevin Kiene won election to fill the remainder of Redlinger’s original four-year term, ending December 2023, he was eligible to take the council seat immediately instead of waiting for January 1, 2022, when Mills will begin his own four-year term.

Mickey Shields, Director of Membership Services for the Iowa League of Cities, told City Administrator Christine Yancey in an email dated November 9 that Kiene was eligible to take his seat now.

As a result, Mills sat in the audience Monday night staring at an empty City Council chair that will soon belong to him. Adding to the confusion was the resignation of Councilperson Andy Rodgers at the November 1 meeting because he was relocating outside of the city.

“I take responsibility that I wasn’t ahead of this,” said Mayor Allen Schneider.

“I was a little confused, too,” said Councilperson Edgar McGuire.

Mills probably won’t have to wait until January to join the City Council again. Per state code, Mills must repeat the appointment process although other city residents may also apply for Rodgers’ seat during a 10-day period that begins November 18. The appointment is likely to be finalized at the council’s meeting December 6.

Also at its meeting Monday, the City Council approved a resolution covering a $367,531 contract with Axiom Consultants of Iowa City for the planning and design of an elaborate improvement project at Railroad Park, and the go-ahead for Axiom to send the project out for bids.

Brian Boelk, Axiom Civil Services Manager and Co-Founder, gave a design presentation and update to the council. The project will expand the number of parking spaces from 18 to 48, create a sidewalk going around the entire park, replace the playground surface and create an ADA-compliant crosswalk going across Highway 22 to the park.

A proposed centerpiece to the project is a rubber surface for the playground, which would feature a Star Trek theme designed in Star Trek colors. Councilpersons Tom Sexton and McGuire suggested also working a train theme into part of the surface, and Boelk said that could be done. The design is not yet finalized.

The City Council also:

• Passed a resolution naming The News as the official weekly newspaper for Riverside.

• Approved extending an agreement with FP Mailing Solutions of Addison, Ill., for the rental of a postage-meter system. It will cost the city $28.95 per month.

Approved the transfer of $224,900 from the Casino Fund to the Debt Service Fund, per the 2021-22 certified budget.

• Accepted the Street Financial Report covering Fiscal Year 2021.

• Accepted the resignation of Kiene from Planning & Zoning because he is now on the City Council.

• Designated December 24, 27, 31 and January 3 as city holidays. The move passed 3-1, with Sexton voting against the measure. Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on Saturdays, resulting in the holidays being observed the following Monday, per city handbook.

Yancey reported that another leaf pick-up will be held around the city November 23.

The City Council will hold a work session and special voting session beginning at 6 p.m. November 22 at the fire station. Topics will include creating a paramedic/firefighter/fire inspector position and approving health insurance benefits for city employees.

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