Burlington City Council

Acting Burlington Fire Chief Lone Finalist

Nov 19, 2012

The man currently leading the Burlington Fire Department is in line to keep the job.

Burlington Addressing Finances

Nov 9, 2012

Burlington is taking steps to get its financial house in order.

Candidates have until 5:00 P.M. on Friday, Oct. 26 to apply to be Burlington’s next fire chief.

Burlington residents should get ready to pay more to have their garbage picked up each month.

Burlington residents could soon pay more to get rid of their garbage.

City Manager Jim Ferneau says the base fee is $12.10/month.  He says that does include recycling and inclusion in a city-wide clean-up.

The fee does not appear to be enough to balance the $2-million sanitation budget, which is carrying a roughly $220,000 shortfall.

Ferneau says part of the reason for that is the city has only adjusted the monthly rate based on increasing tipping fees at the local landfill. 

City and county leaders understand there are structural concerns with Burlington’s police station on North 3rd Street.

Those concerns led to discussions about a joint law enforcement center that would be shared by Burlington and Des Moines County.

Chairman Tom Broeker says the County Board of Supervisors backed out of the talks because of the potential, multi-million dollar price tag for the project.

The future of the building is back in the news after mold was discovered on the third floor, which houses the Des Moines County Attorney’s office.

Burlington’s search for a new police chief has reached the “Final Four” as the Civil Service Commission has certified the eligibility of four finalists.

Two of the finalists are currently employed by the city of Burlington: Lt. Darren Grimshaw and Major Doug Beaird, who is currently serving as interim police chief.

The other two finalists are from outside of the region.

Zim Schwartze is a former emergency management and public safety coordinator in Missouri and Charlie Dennis is a former police chief in Arizona.

There appears to be some interest in a large piece of real estate in Burlington.

The city spent about $5-million to tear down homes and relocate residents from a roughly 28-acre site known locally as “The Manor.” 

It is located near the intersection of Highway 34 and Highway 61.

The idea behind the project was commercial development, but a potential developer from Minnesota backed away.

The result is that the property has sat vacant for about four years.

The Burlington Animal Shelter is up and running again at a temporary location.

An expansion and renovation of the facility is scheduled to get underway in a couple of weeks.

Des Moines County Humane Society Co-President Susan Denk says the shelter is slated to nearly double in size.

She says the most important improvement will be a new ventilation system that separates between sick animals, health animals and humans.

The shelter had to be cleared out in anticipation of the upcoming construction.

Burlington’s non-union employees are in a “wait-and-see” mode when it comes to their salaries for the upcoming fiscal year.

The city’s union workers are in line for 3.5% raises as part of the budget that takes effect July 1.  The raises are included in the current union contracts, which are in the fourth year of five.

In May, the city council signed off on a new employee manual for non-union workers.  The manual includes wage increases that are similar to the union raises.

Burlington will need to take out a very short-term loan to get through the current fiscal year, which ends June 30th.

The city council has authorized the borrowing of up to $2-million to cover payroll and operations through the end of the month.

City Manager Jim Ferneau says the city will need about $700,000 to cover the final payroll of the year, so he does not anticipate needing to borrow the full amount.

He says it is good to have the authority to do so, though, in case an ongoing capital project runs into trouble.

An expansion and renovation of the Burlington Animal Shelter could get underway this summer.

The city council voted 3-2 to hire Myers Construction to do the work.  The $820,000 bid from the firm out of Sperry, Iowa was the lowest of the three received by the city.

Burlington will split the cost of the project with the Des Moines County Humane Society.  The organization has raised more than $500,000 for the shelter since its fundraising campaign began in 2010.

Burlington could soon have a better idea of what to do with Cascade Bridge.  The bridge, which is about 115 years old, has been closed to vehicular traffic for about 4 years.

The city was ready to spend several million dollars to tear it down and build a new one.  It even had received a $1-million grant to help cover the cost.

The state stepped in, though, to make sure Burlington considered restoring the structure.

The city council has agreed to have Shuck-Britson, Inc. out of Des Moines study the bridge.

Burlington continues to wait for information in regards to the future of Cascade Bridge, which has been closed to vehicular traffic for several years.

The city was ready to start building a new roughly $4-million bridge months ago.  The project was delayed, though, to allow for a new study to be done to determine if the roughly 120-year-old bridge could be repaired or if replacement is required.

The recommendation for the new study came from the State Historic Preservation Office and was supported by several local preservation groups.

Burlington residents still have plenty of opportunities to weigh in on a new “blue-print” for the city.

Development and Parks Director Eric Tysland says it has been at least 15 years since Burlington updated its comprehensive plan.  He says this type of document is crucial to future planning and development.

“It looks at all aspects of the city,” says Tysland, “from land-use to streets to infrastructure and public services (police & fire).  Basically every aspect of the city is addressed in the plan in one way or another.”

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