The Muscatine City Council met for a regular meeting on April 5 to discuss several opportunities for growth, development, improvement, and progress around the city.

A proposed development agreement with White Distribution & Supply LLC was scheduled for public hearing at this meeting. According to the agenda, the development agreement “would provide financial incentives to the company in the form of annual appropriation tax increment payments.” Debbie Harms of the White Distribution & Supply LLC Ownership Group spoke on behalf of the company. Harms thanked the city for the consideration of their proposal, which she stated would allow the company to grow and hire more employees. This proposed development agreement was then adopted unanimously.

Two proclamations were made by the Mayor, the first designating April as Fair Housing Month in Muscatine. The second was the designation of May 20, 2018, as Richard and Mary Joe Stanley Day. This day will feature the Preservation Hall Jazz Band performing in Weed Park as well as open houses taking place at the MCSA and the Muscatine Art Center.

A request to approve a purchase order for the purchase of an outdoor theatre system for the library was approved. This purchase order is in the amount of $12,000. The equipment will be used for multiple events throughout the year and will make use of the current space available. The equipment on the purchase order includes one HDTV projector, a cart for the projector and other media, a ten-foot by 16-foot portable projection screen, and an all-in-one public-address system with speakers. This equipment will also come with warranties provided by the manufacturer. This outdoor theatre will be used in conjunction with the new outdoor stage.

“I look forward to seeing events there,” council member Kelcey Brackett stated.

Approval was made to replace a Chevrolet Tahoe for the Muscatine Police Department that was totaled in January. The replacement Tahoe will be purchased form Krieger’s Motor Company, as their bid was within the 2% local match. The totaled Tahoe was covered under insurance, but the police department requires Council approval.

The Council also approved a request to approve the design and engineering for the Houser St. and Fulliam St. roundabout. Shive-Hattery will proceed with the design of the roundabout, with the amount allotted not to exceed $19,000.

Regarding this request, City Engineer Jim Edgmond met with residents in the affected area. Edgmond received positive feedback regarding the roundabout. Edgmond stated that two property owners on the west side of the proposed roundabout are the most affected. These two properties have driveways on Houser, but the residents stated that they would be fine with a new driveway exiting onto Fulliam St., as one already had plans to build a garage facing Fulliam St. Another resident has concerns over the selling of his house, as there are many unknown factors regarding this roundabout at the current time.

Council member Santos Saucedo reminded those present of the city-wide cleanup in the third week of April. Saucedo stated that more information regarding the clean-up is available on the Muscatine Facebook page and the Muscatine website.

Council member Nadine Brockert asked for an update on Community Development. Community Development Director Dave Gobin stated that the projects going on in the city total around $750 million. Over the past four years, nearly one billion dollars have been invested in the community. Gobin is also focusing on the southern side of Muscatine, which includes the opportunity zone discussed in a previous meeting. Gobin would like to see a grocery store in that area to support the community.

“Community–it’s one of the elements and recipes that’s kept our tax rate flat. It’s because of the increase on the amount of activity here,” Gobin stated.

Mayor Diana Broderson stated that a youth job fair will take place April 25 at the Muscatine High School. Employers will be present to find new hires for summer jobs. The first episode of the new video project will take place April 17 at 6:30 p.m. and will discuss the spring clean-up week.

The City Council then moved to a closed session concerning the acquisition and sale of property at 7:58 p.m.