Pana Council makes hires, buy grader
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PANA — The Pana City Council filled several vacancies during its regular meeting on Monday night in the Council Chambers of Pana City Hall. A total of five people in various departments over the course of the next few months were approved.
The city is also purchasing a used 2008 John Deere 672D road grader. Ordinances to authorize the purchase and to borrow just over $127,000 from First National Bank of Pana to pay for it, passed on first reading by unanimous vote. The grader is being pur- chased from Martin Equipment and they have allowed for a $7,500 trade-in.
Pending passing a physical exam and a drug screening, the Council approved Mayor Nathan Pastor’s appointments of Joel Holthaus and John Schafer as Pana Street Department employees. Also approved was Nick Smart to be hired as into the flexible schedule position. Two other positions as police dispatcher were approved to be hired. Those positions will be filled later in the year as two dispatchers are planning to retire this year.
Second reading of an ordinance to vacate part of First Street and Commercial Alley was approved on a 7-1 vote. The ordinance was prompted by the construction of the Jack Flash project. Alderman Kirk Woods voted “no.”
An agreement with Triple A Asbestos for asbestos survey of four downtown properties was approved 6-2. The survey is needed prior to demolition of the properties, also in preparation of the Jack Flash project. Aldermen Steve Scott and Kent Sims voted “no.” They were concerned the company had “drug its feet” while completing another asbestos survey which was conducted prior to these.
Also in connection with the Jack Flash project, approval to purchase a pair of properties by the city was approved. The city is buying 31 S. Locust St. for $23,000 and 27-29 S. Locust for $6,500.
A project to place a drop box for boat stickers at Lake Pana was put on hold. The Community Operations Committee had approved purchasing the drop box for more than $1,900 so anyone visiting the lake who needed a sticker could purchase one at the boat launch site. The commit- tee also wants the money collected for the stickers be used only for lake improvement projects.
Alderman Woods wanted to know what arrangements are going to be made to pick up the money collected. City Clerk Terry Klein felt selling the temporary stickers at the lake was unfair to lake residents who had purchased yearly stickers, which are based on the size and horse- power of the boat. He also suggested the city needed “a lake department” with staff, especially able to work weekends and have its own building at the lake.
Police Chief Daniel Bland said when officers do lake patrol, they have stickers which they can sell to boaters. When someone is found to be without a sticker, Bland said the boat owner is given the option to purchase the sticker or get off the lake. He said everyone chooses to buy the sticker.
It was decided to “revisit” a proposal to transfer animal control for the police department to the Zoning Office. Alderman Scott was leery of the proposal, saying there was no money allocated in the most recent fiscal year budget for animal control. He said having animal control back in the Zoning Office would require getting a vehicle and hiring personnel to answer animal com- plaints.
The police department has been handling animal complaints, but Chief Bland said it was becoming too much for his staff to handle, especially when they are engaged in another investigation. However, Bland said, his department would continue to handle vicious dog com- plaints. Sometimes other complaints, such as a dog running loose, a bat in a home or an animal trying to get into someone’s garage were not high priority, especially when an officer was involved with another case.
City Attorney Steve Mahrt hinted there were changes coming to animal control “which some members of the council are not completely aware.” He did not elaborate on those changes.
The purchase of a control panel for an emergency generator at the wastewater treatment plant was approved for a cost of $11,200.
Under the topic of the wastewater treatment plant, Jeff Nadler of Nadler Electric presented information about payment for increased costs for materials at the plant had not been paid and he was seeking relief from the council. But Alderman Scott said Nadler was a subcon- tractor with Grunlow and his beef was with Grunlow and not the city. Nadler agreed but said “Grunlow threw me under the bus.” Nadler agreed the city wasn’t contractually responsible for his increased cost, but felt morally they were. No action was taken.
Following a 25-minute executive session to discuss personnel, the council returned to open session and the Mayor said no action was taken.
The meeting adjourned at 8:39 p.m. Next meeting of the Pana City Council is Monday, Sept. 13, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of Pana City Hall.