The Mason City Commission met for its last regular meeting of 2008, and at the top of the agenda was discussion about problems with the new water tower that has been built on the west end of town.
Jim Blackwell, engineer for the City, presented a slide show showing the construction progress, and pointing out flaws that he and the city staff had observed. Mr. Blackwell explained that he, along with City Administrator Brian Boudreaux, had contacted the contractor, Maguire Iron of South Dakota, as the construction progressed and the problems did not appear to be satisfactorily corrected. The contractor had responded that a certain amount of "field adjustment" was always necessary, and that there was no cause for concern.
As the project neared completion, Blackwell explained, he and City Water Supervisor had climbed to the top of the tower for an on-site inspection and discovered numerous problems that concerned them. They documented these items with photographs which were then sent to Maguire Iron.
Maguire Iron responded almost immediately, offering to remove the top two thirds of the tower and to rebuild it using all new fabricated metal, at no additional cost to the City. Maguire had requested an additional scheduled construction payment; but, Mr. Blackwell and Mr. Boudreaux responded that the payment would not be made until the new material had been delivered and was ready for installation.
The City Commission, examining this evidence and the responses, approved a construction change order allowing Maguire Iron until June of 2009 to finish construction.
Another item on the agenda that required lengthy discussion was the use of the Richard P. Eckert Civic Center. The City has now taken possession of the building, a gift from Mr. Eckert's widow, Adriana, but had not yet established usage guidelines or rental fees.
It was agreed that, since the Civic Center is located in a residential neighborhood, to restrict use to 8:00 a.m. till 10:00 p.m. on weekdays, and 8:00 a.m. till 11:00 p.m. on weekends and holidays. It was also agreed that the rental fee would be $175, with a $300 security deposit required at time of reservation.
The serving of alcohol at functions in the facility was also discussed. Again, because of its location in a residential area, the commission felt that the serving of alcohol was not appropriate. It was pointed out that several recent functions held there, as well as one planned for this Thursday evening, included the serving of beer and/or wine. The commission noted that the rules governing the facility would not be approved until the January meeting, so anything in the interim would not be affected by that rule.
In other action, the City Commission elected Commissioner William Beaty to the Library Board, replacing Commissioner Bob Vacek.
They also voted to cast all of their 169 votes for William Beaty for the Mason County Appraisal District Board of Directors. Since the Mason I.S.D. Board of Trustees cast its 3062 votes for Shannon Worrell, and Mason County cast all its 1715 votes for Polly McMillan, the two vacant slots will be filled by Worrell and McMillan. The 54 votes of the Doss CCSD will not affect the outcome of the voting.
The Commission also discussed possible use of office space in the Civic Center by Habitat for Humanity, and the possible abandonment of Second Street between Lincoln and McKinley Avenues. Those issues will be considered at the January 19, 2009, meeting of the Commission.