Highland News Leader

City closes the book on need for liquor licensees to disclose their finances

A month after the Highland City Council passed a new liquor ordinance, it was amending it.

At its meeting June 19, the council voted to amend its new ordinance, eliminating the requirement that applicants submit a financial statement in order to get a license.

City Manager Mark Latham said the change was made to simplify the application process for a liquor license.

“Some of the current alcohol licensees approached one of the council members stating that they didn’t require the financial statements before, even though it was in the ordinance,” Latham said.

In looking through old records, Latham said, only about 10 percent of the liquor license holders had filed a financial statement in the past.

“It seems to be a problem for most of the liquor license holders, so it was recommended that we pull that out of there,” Latham said.

In May, Highland adopted its new liquor ordinance in an attempt to cut off any new video gaming parlors in order to serve up chances for potential new restaurants.

The Highland City Council on May 15 approved an amended a liquor ordinance that created different classifications of liquor licenses and raised liquor license fees by $100 across the board. Before the change, the city only had one classification of liquor license (Class A) for establishments pouring for on-site consumption.

Other business

Police surplus property and sale

The council declared one police vehicle and four police bikes surplus property and authorized the sale of the items by auction.

The items include a 2006 Chevrolet Impala police vehicle that has 109,000 miles on it, two 24-inch Trek police bikes and two 25-inch Trek police bikes.

The Impala used to be a administrative/detective’s car. It was used for a training vehicle for the last three years. According to the Highland Police Chief Terry Bell, it has held up well, but is being replaced by another Impala with less miles on it. He also noted that the car could be re-purposed in a different department, because it has not had a high maintenance cost, unlike other police cars.

The Trek bicycles were purchased used from the Waterloo Police Department in the 1990s, according to Bell. The HPD was recently awarded a grant through Madison County Transit, which gave the department two new IFORCE police bikes.

The property will be sold through either a public auction, public online bidding site or an other method.

Light & Power surplus property

The council also declared pieces of property from the Department of Light and Power to be surplus property and authorized its sale.

The three items from the electric department include one military-style reel trailer, 1,764 Centron meters, and five pallets of miscellaneous electric materials including bolts, nuts, washers, backpack trimming saw, three spools of welding wire, meter bases, light fixtures and hardware.

The council authorized the director of Light and Power to sell the surplus property.

Fire Department surplus property

The council declared one 2006 Chevrolet Impala used by the Highland Fire Department to be surplus property. The council also waived normal bidding procedure and authorized the department to buy a used 2008 GMC K3500 pickup truck.

The department will trade in the Impala to Steve Schmitt Chevrolet for $1,600, which will allow them to buy the GMC truck for $21,483.

Fire Chief Rick Bloemker said that the new truck will be used to haul and tow items that are currently being towed by firefighters’ personal vehicles. Funding for the vehicle will come from the fire department’s private account that is funded by the annual Firefighter Dance and from money from Madison County Firefighters Association for the working bingo. The balance will be paid by the Foreign Fire Insurance Fund account, which is managed by the city.

New Light & Power position approved

The council approved the creation of a new position within the Department of Light and Power.

Director of Light and Power Dan Cook and City Manager Mark Latham have been working together to create the electric foreman position to make up for some lost workers within the department.

“We’ve had three seasoned journeymen who have retired,” Latham said “I mean, we are looking close to probably 75-years-plus of experience … and we have another one who is going to retire this fall.”

On top of the retirements, another journeyman is leaving the city’s employment for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Latham said that leaves the city with only four journeymen and three apprentices.

“So, it’s probably the youngest crew we have had in a long, long time,” Latham said. “So it’s going to be important to have some day-by-day or hour-by-hour contact with a foreman.”

A foreman is basically a supervisor asked to oversee the daily work of the other lineman. Because apprentices train three years to become a journeyman, Latham said the Light and Power Department is feeling like they need a little bit more supervision for the younger crew.

There used to be a foreman position before Latham was employed with the city. He said that city officials believe the new position will increase efficiency 15 percent. If that holds true, it could save the city about $140,000.

“We feel like this is a good investment,” Latham said.

The position will not be associated with a union.

Contract extended

The council approved an extension of its contract with Korte & Luitjohan Contractors Inc. for the construction of clarifiers at the water treatment plant. The contractor requested an extension to the date because of days lost due to weather, according to Latham. Director of Public Works Joe Gillespie said the change will have no fiscal impact to the city.

Bid letting approved

The council approved the letting of bids for reconstruction of a section of Sportsman Road.

A section of the concrete road has “prematurely deteriorated” near Rural King, according to Gillespie. He said all of the concrete pavement and portions of the curbing and sidewalk from Northtown Way westerly to the property line between Rural King and Glik Park.

Latham said that the city has set aside about $300,000 for the project in the street and alley account.