The members of the Sioux Rapids city council have been working hard to achieve the goals set during last year's public hearing.
A community survey followed up by the Public Meeting on March 2 of last year gave the council a good idea of what residents wished to see in the town. The first goal was the opening of the city swimming pool.
"The pool did open last year but it continued to leak," said Mayor Andrew Hasley. "There was a pump out and a bad two way valve. The pool continues to lose water so we will end up removing all the caulk and repairing joints inside the pump house."
It's tough, though, coming up with repair money so Mayor Hasley believes the Save Our Pool committee may be setting up for another fundraiser this spring.
Number two on the list of the city's goals coming out of the Public Hearing was the beautification of Sioux Rapids. With that, the council set out to find volunteers to fill positions on a Beautification committee, which held its first fundraiser with the Tour of Homes in December. Funds from that event were used to purchase badly needed Christmas decorations from the city of Waverly. The committee continues to look for more volunteers to help beautify the city this spring and suggested to the council that not only a spring clean up day take place, but also a fall clean up day.
With beautification comes people willing to give some time.
"Volunteerism is one of the biggest things I would like to see happen," said Hasley. "I took time to tabulate our volunteers - Sioux Rapids has well over 90 volunteers helping with various projects."
Mayor Hasley noted that cities can expect about 10 percent of the population to volunteer for fundraisers and projects. Sioux Rapids is fortunate to have this many helpers.
The revitalization of an Economic Development Committee has been done. Several new businesses have opened in the city and incentive packages were available to assist. A grant writing committee has also been developed which should help with the process of finding funds for projects that there just isn't enough money for.
As the city moves forward with these goals, there are already other changes taking place within the city limits. Completion of the CDBG grant for home improvements is well underway. The grant was applied for last March, was received and several homes in the city have been improved with grant funds.
"This is something the SR2000 committee applied for about five years ago. With improvements in homes comes increased property taxes throughout the city and that's a plus for the city's budget," said Andrew.
The recodification of the City Code in Sioux Rapids will begin soon along with recodification of the Zoning ordinances. With some outside help, the city council will be rewriting laws for the city that are now 20 plus years old. That includes costs for not mowing lawns and addressing small issues such as abandoned buildings, cars in yards, or the length of grass on resident's lawn.
"We hope to see a good set of regulations on dilapidated buildings and some basic updating," said Hasley. Although the city has to spend $6,000 to get this done, council members feel it's a necessary action.
Codification of zoning laws will take place also. Northwest Iowa Planning and Development is assisting in that effort. Within the next year this large task will also be completed. Cost to the city if approximately $4,000.
The biggest project taking place in the next few months will be a sewer upgrade. Every summer, the water system has to be disinfected for ecoli. In the past chlorination has been the answer to the bacteria problem but the issue with that is having to ride out the chlorination for some time.
There is now a high-intensity light available that will kill the e-coli bacteria on the water. The cost will be high but Sioux Rapids is actually one of the lucky cities to keep expenses in check. Because of the city's location on the Little Sioux River, the guidelines are less restrictive because of the river size. Kuehl and Payer will be helping update the aerators in the lagoons for a cost of $453,000.
"We have applied for a grant to help cover the costs of replacement, but competition is stiff," said Hasley. "If Sioux Rapids is not one of the grant recipient, then other financing is available to us."
Hasley is pleased with the council's go-ahead attitude. The top five Sioux Rapids goals have already been addressed while continuing to achieve them.
"The largest hurdle when I took office was learning to do what the public wants us to do," he said. "But the council is implementing the goals, although not accomplished as yet we'll get it done this year."