Monona Council moving forward with marketing the sale of Garden View

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

At its Feb. 5 meeting, the Monona Council unanimously approved moving forward with marketing the sale of Garden View Senior Living Community.

Mayor Lynn Martinson broached the idea of selling the facility, which the city has owned since it was built 12 years ago, at a goal setting meeting two weeks ago.

At the time it was built, Martinson said it made sense for the city to help get Garden View up and running. However, maintaining responsibility for it is no longer economically prudent, he added.

“There are so many things going on,” said Martinson at Monday’s meeting. “There’s an issue now of getting a contractor to fix siding and windows.”

The council’s approval, he added, “initiates the next step. It tells [city administrator Dan Canton] he can talk to appraisers and that, as a council, we can make decisions.”

Canton said an appraisal was performed on Garden View several years ago. He said he would contact that company to see if that could be updated.

Martinson also suggested forming a special committee to address any Garden View-related issues. Then, he said, the council wouldn’t have to meet every time something came up. The committee will include Martinson and Canton, as well as councilmen Andrew Meyer and Doug Bachman.

Water rate adjustment proposed

Martinson proposed adjusting the city’s water rate in order to improve the standing of the water budget.

“I’ve been looking at the water side of the budget, and it looks tough,” he said.

Martinson first suggested increasing the rate 5 percent for five years, which would result in a roughly $1 increase per customer each month.

The council agreed that amount was too low, however, suggesting a 10 percent increase, which would be $2 more each month. At that amount, the city would bring in $18,000 more per year, Martinson said.

Going with the lower amount, said councilman Dan Havlicek, would be the equivalent of “sticking your finger in a hole” to stop a leak.

While other city funds remain in good shape, the water fund is the weakest, Canton said.

“Right now, we’re just treading water,” he noted. “Every city’s different. We have to base rates on our needs.”

In addition to the rate adjustment, Martinson also proposed increasing the minimum service charge by $2, a move he said would result in $34,000 in revenue.

Any of the changes, he said, could be re-addressed down the road.

“I don’t like raising rates,” Martinson admitted, “but what can we do? I’m looking at the budgets and revenue, and we can’t just sit here.”

He questioned what would happen if the city kept on as it is and something broke.

“If we don’t do anything, then run out of money, it’s going to be a 35 percent increase,” he continued. “That’s what we’re here for, to take care of this community.”

The council simply discussed the issue at Monday’s meeting; they took no formal action.

Water connection approved

The council approved a request from Faith Lutheran Church to connect to the Monona water main distribution system when it constructs a new building on the west side of town.

Update on Dollar General

The council also passed a resolution authorizing connection to the city sanitary sewer and water distribution system for a new Dollar General Store, which will be located near the intersection of Highway 18/52 and 125th Street.

Canton said a building permit has been issued and that bidding for the project has either taken place or will take place soon. 

According to the Overland Group, he said the goal is to have the store up and running by August.

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