Council learns LS Beef will open in May/June

By Marcie Klomp
Lime Springs Council learned LimeSprings Beef’s opening date has been pushed back a month, at its Jan. 6 meeting. General Manager Michael Spinks admitted, “Last time I was here, we were hoping to open and kill cattle in 2014. We had a couple obstacles.”

He explained the wastewater permit for the pits took more time than expected. Now they are contending with the cold weather. The company will start working on the wastewater part of the project this spring with an opening date set for late May/early June.

“We’ll start hiring in earnest about 30 days before the first kill,” Spinks concluded.

• During open forum, Howard-Winneshiek School Board member Jim Kitchen told council and those gathered the Lime Springs school would probably close. “We need to save over $750,000 in the next two years.”

Mayor Barb Robinson wondered how long it would take for Cresco to ask for a referendum for a new K-8 building.

Kitchen talked about several other options for reducing costs, such as having a salary freeze. He also admitted about 140 kids have been lost in the past five years. “We’re not losing kids because of services. There are fewer farmers, bigger farmers with smaller families.”

Nate Schwickerath suggested having a public meeting that gives options.

• Also during open forum, Jeff Harden asked if he would be able to get a variance to have a fence around the former Tank & Tummy for storage. City Clerk Rhonda Klapperich will look into it and give him an answer at the next meeting on Feb. 3.

• A question was posed to the residents of Lime Springs in their water bills. Did Lime Springs want to have more sheriff protection, which would cost more in property taxes? The consensus of the residents who sent in a letter, spoke to council members or attended the meeting was a resounding “No!” They did not want more protection if it was going to cost them more money.

• Public Works Director Casey Sebastian mentioned, “I only purchased 14 ton of salt/sand from the county. I’ve used 6-8 ton, about half, so far. I refrained from buying too much since it costs $45 per ton.” He also asked council to think about making a decision for next year about having odd/even parking for snow removal. He explained he could just take care of the snow removal faster, without having to return to the same spot several times a day waiting for a car to move.

He said accountability on the water usage is at 70 percent. Some city water still isn’t metered, and some old meters haven’t been changed out. Sebastian surmises there is probably still a leak somewhere in the system.

The public works director told council he has been able to show some residents they must have a leak somewhere since their water bills are higher than a normal family. The system can show that water is being used at a steady rate even in the middle of the night. Several residents have thanked him for informing them of the leak.

• There were no written or oral comments on approving the sale of $145,000 water revenue note, so council passed it. Council also approved a $115,000 general obligation loan agreement.
• In other business, there were no building permits (It must be too cold!), and a cigarette/tobacco permit was issued to MK Travel Plaza.

• A complaint was heard on a resident who has a large collection of lawn mowers, which are an eyesore. The council could not find an ordinance in which the resident was doing anything wrong. The lawn mowers did not need licenses, they were straight lines and they were being mowed around.

Klapperich was happy to note the 2001 debt service sewer loan agreement was paid off.

A budget work session will be held Jan. 20 at 6 p.m. The next regular council meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m.

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