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Final consideration of traffic safety ordinances Monday

During Monday night’s meeting, the Newton City Council will have the third and final consideration of the two ordinances that will add 65 additional stop signs at intersections entering arterial and collector streets and remove yield signs at four different intersections.

The council also will have a public hearing on a resolution instituting proceedings to take additional action for the issuance of up to $2,510,000 in general obligation bonds. This resolution will allow the city to move forward with the steps to issue the bonding. The bonding will cover TIF Projects and also refinance $1,000,000 of past city debt.

Also on the agenda for Monday night are two action items with regard to ambulance services fees. In 2013, the city entered into a contract with Municipal Collections of America to collect unpaid debt to Newton. The Newton Fire Department is requesting an ordinance change to allow the addition of the collection fees to debts in the future. City staff is recommending the addition of collection fees in the amount of 25 percent for unpaid ambulance service charges. The fire department also is requesting changes in rates for ambulance services. The initial rates will have an increase, and the per mile rate will remain the same:

• Non-emergency: Basic Life Support Service is proposed to increase to $364

• Emergency: Basic Life Support Service is proposed to increase to $582

• Non-emergency: Advanced Life Support Service is proposed to increase to $437

• Emergency: Advance Life Support Service is proposed to increase to $691

• Advance Life Support level two service is proposed to increase to $1,001

•Specialty Care Transport service is proposed to increase to $1,182

The council will award three contracts for improvement projects. The first contract is to repair the traffic lights at the intersection of First Avenue East and East Eighth Street due to the traffic accident that occurred on April 1. The contract was awarded to Baker Electric of Des Moines.

The second contract to be awarded on Monday is for the city-wide way-finding signage project. The project was introduced in July by a citizen advisory committee. The contract was awarded to Nagle Signs Inc. of Waterloo.

The third contract to be awarded will be for the 2014 city-wide sidewalk Americans with Disabilities Act ramp and sidewalk connection improvements. The contract was awarded to TK Concrete of Pella. By law, every city with 50 or more employees is responsible for implementing a transition plan that identifies and removes barriers to accessibility for people with disabilities. The project will include curb ramps, new ADA-accessible parking stalls in parks and new sidewalks to provide connectivity. The sidewalk construction will extend and tie together existing sidewalks in the 600 to 800 block of South 12th Avenue West and the 100 to 300 block of East 23rd Street North. Both of these neighborhoods are within the vicinity of Newton schools and have high pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

The council also will take action Monday on a resolution regarding advertising service agreements with Newton Daily News, Des Moines Register Media, ClearChannel Media and Energy 106.7.

During the previous council meeting on April 21, Newton Director of Finance and Development Bryan Friedman discussed a new housing initiative incentive for 2014. The incentives have been finalized and are ready for the council’s approval.

If approved, the incentives would go to the first 40 single-family homes beginning construction in Newton in 2014, not including properties in Fountain Hills Estates, First Addition. A $10,000 incentive will be provided to the buyer of the home, subject to the following rules: The incentive is provided at the time and place of closing on the permanent financing of the home; the improvements (exclusive of land value) must be valued at least at $160,000, as evidenced by an appraisal or assessment; and the construction of the home must be fully complete, as evidenced by the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy by the City of Newton.

The builders will receive the following incentives: waiving of building permit fees for constructing the home; agreement for the City of Newton to cover the utility and interest costs of the improvements for up to a 12-month period beginning 12 months after the completion of the home and the commencement of marketing efforts, as evidenced by the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy and the presence of a ‘for sale’ sign on the property. The cost coverage period would end upon the sale of the property, the occupancy of the property for a rental, or after 12 months, whichever is soonest.

In order to access the builder incentives, the builders must be in compliance: be fully registered and/or licensed with the State of Iowa, per requirements of the state; provide evidence of bonding and insurance; build in radon abatement infrastructure into the new home, per the standards in the most current edition of the International Residential Code; and comply with all inspection and building code requirements.

Staff writer Zach Johnson may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at

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