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New Council members begin serving
by Nancy Grindle Correspondent · January 11th, 2018

The first regular City Council meeting of 2018 was held on Thursday, January 4. Mayor Nicolas AbouAssaly administered the oath of office to new Council members Steve Jensen for Ward 2, Rene Gadelha for Ward 4 and Randy Strnad, Council Member At-Large. Paul Draper was unable to attend.

Mayor AbouAssaly also read a proclamation for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2018 (January 15). Shirley Pantini was present to receive the proclamation for the Marion Civil Rights Commission.

A number of mayoral appointments were recommended and approved unanimously. Council Member Gadelha will serve as Mayor pro tem through the remainder of 2018, and Council Member Strnad will serve as Deputy Mayor pro tem during that same time. Strnad will serve as Mayor pro tem during 2019 with Gadelha as Deputy Mayor pro tem during that year.

The regular city elections on November 7 cost $17,028.58 and that amount was approved to be paid to the Linn County Treasurer.

Payment to Dorsey & Whitney LLP for a number of professional services was approved in the total amount of $60,611.

It also was voted upon to purchase the property at 600 19th Street for $154,603.

Three partial payments were approved. One was to Abode Construction related to the Lucore Road reconstruction (($21,094.06), and two were to Genesis Equities related to the Central Corridor improvements project (Phase 3, $66,259.41 and building demolition, $29,455.20). Mayor AbouAssaly abstained while the other council members unanimously voted in favor.

It was requested that property near Gospel Light Baptist Church be vacated. A public hearing and vote in favor followed. January 18 was set as the date for a public hearing about the purchase of the property.

Two items were tabled until a later date. One was an amendment to the Restoration Dental development agreement, tabled until the next council meeting. The other was a proposed reorganization of city positions; it was tabled until the council could examine it more closely.

Two letters of resignation were received and filed, one from Tim Mooney (Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization) and one from Randy Strnad (Local Option Sales Tax Oversight Committee).

The April 2017 non-bargaining pay range schedule was amended for the following positions:

Deputy city manager

Community development director

Director of administrative services

Budget manager

City clerk/records retention manager

Plans examiner

Mayoral reappointments approved included Terry Chew (county solid waste agency), John Sklarsky (local option sales tax oversight), and Deb Washburn (local option sales tax oversight).

Mayor AbouAssaly had spoken at the Marion/Cedar Rapids Optimist meeting on January 3 and closed the council meeting with a reading of the Optimist Creed.
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