Members of the Alta City Council voted unanimously to pay Alta Police Chief Tom Messerole an extra $200 per week to compensate for the amount of overtime he has been forced to put in over the last 30 days.
Messerole has seen his department reduced by 66 percent over the past month, as two of the three full-time officers on staff are gone.
Of the three-man department, Officer Dave Freese was recently called to active military duty and Officer Mike Rader is currently enrolled at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy and will not return for another five weeks, leaving Messerole as the only full-time officer in Alta.
Ron Speers has been hired as part-time help, but Messerole said he was still working approximately 60 to 70 hours per week, including being on-call 24 hours a day.
"I'm working a lot of hours right now, and I would like to see some compensation," Messerole said. "There's been talk of cutting my hours, and believe me, if I could, I would."
While full-time and part-time officers to help relieve Messerole's workload are being sought, the chief said he would only consider qualified applicants for the positions.
"When we get help, it's going to be good help," Messerole said. "I'm not going to hire someone that I don't think can do the job properly, because I don't want to put us in a position that could come back to haunt us later on down the road if we hire someone that isn't qualified."
Council members approved a suggestion from Dan Huseman awarding Messerole an extra $200 per week for 12 hours of overtime he will put in until one more full-time officer is hired.
The overtime pay would then last two weeks if the new officer is certified and does not have to attend the police academy, and one month if the officer does have to receive training at the police school.
The city council also viewed plans for the new concession stand and bathhouse, which members would like to see open for public use by June 1, 2002.
The new building would stand on the site of the existing structure located north of the pool and south of the football field, but would see some changes from the current bathhouse.
The new building would be enlarged to approximately 3,200 square feet, include two outside bathrooms, shower and restroom facilities for men and women, and would have glass windows between the main check-in section and the pool, allowing employees inside the building to assist the lifeguards in watching the pool area.
Glen Huntington of Storm Lake gave an overview of the project to council members, and said the proposal would cost in the neighborhood of $200,000 to construct.
"The estimated cost would be around $198,000 for a basic building," Huntington said. "But the price for something like this in today's market value does range quite a bit. I would guess that the bids for this will range anywhere from $185,000 to $225,000."
The city has begun to advertise the construction plan to various bidders around northwest Iowa, and city officials will select a contractor for the project at a special city council meeting set for Oct. 23.