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Newton City Council receives gender equality certificate

Published: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 10:55 a.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, July 22, 2014 10:57 a.m. CST

The City of Newton was recognized with a Certificate of Gender Equality at Monday’s city council meeting.

Florine Swanson of Galt a Vision 2020 delegate, presented the certificate to the Newton City Council for having achieved a gender balance in accordance with a January 2012 State of Iowa Code. There are currently three men and three women on the council.

Vision 2020 is a national initiative developed at Drexel University  in Pennsylvania, to make equality a national priority through shared leadership among women and men. The year 2020 is significant as it will make the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote.

“Your commitment to shared leadership is truly advancing the future of gender equality,” Swanson said.

Newton is one of 16 cities in Iowa that have been identified as having gender equality.

In other business, the council discussed and approved lowering the interest rate from 3.88 to 1 percent for the property owner at 817 N. Third Ave. E. after his willingness to come forward and work with the city to pay off the debt of the demolition of the property.

A resolution was approved after a public discussion, of an agreement with Shive-Hattery Inc. to repaint the First Avenue West railroad overpass.

Dixie Cassidy, a Newton resident, had concerns about the payment coming completely from the city and none from the Iowa Interstate Railroad, which owns the structure.

Erin Chambers, director of Planning and Zoning, explained why Iowa Interstate Railroad would not put any money toward the project.

“(Iowa Interstate Railroad) is not concerned with the aesthetic appearance of their bridges. They primarily have a safety and structural concern,” Chambers said.

A citizen-led group has reviewed a list of what it felt would help Newton be more attractive and the entrance into the town through the railroad bridge was a place they decided to allocate money. Funding for the project came from unspent money from the Way Finding Signs project which originated in the Comprehensive Plan Implementation fund.

The council approved an estimated cost of $15,800 for Shive-Hattery Inc. of West Des Moines to prepare construction plans, project bidding and construction administration services.

Staff writer Jamee A. Pierson may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 6534, or at jpierson@newtondailynews.com.

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