Council calls for committee meeting to discuss Babe Ruth field

Labor Union representatives from Ottumwa, Des Moines and surrounding areas filled the Community Meeting Room at the Bloomfield Public Library Thursday, Jan. 2, to speak on behalf of city workers during the first Bloomfield City Council meeting of the year.

Labor negotiations are underway for city employees, and the visitors were there to urge the council to allow bargaining on all topics in the contract, not just wages.

Steve Siegel of Ottumwa, who served as a union representative from 1994-2014, reminded the council, “The Iowa Legislature changed the law limiting mandatory negotiation topics to just wages, but there is nothing prohibiting bargaining on other things. Many of those here tonight would like to encourage you to allow bargaining on all topics in the contract to keep relationships good.”

Mark Cooper of Des Moines reminded the council to respect the city’s laborers. “These jobs are important to the city. Continue what you have been doing for the past years.”

Clint Nichols of Bloomfield also urged the council to continue negotiating topics negotiated in the past.

Ronda Fowler of Des Moines warned the council against creating a division between the city and the employees. “Then people don’t make a long-term commitment to the employer,” she said.

Randy Tucker of Pleasant Hill said, “I have been to Davis County many times. I would like to see you guys keep good jobs and good benefits. If we start stripping (everything down) to bare bones in our communities, that hurts these communities and they die.”

Negotiations up to this point have taken place in closed sessions following regular council meetings, and no information has been made available to the public during open sessions.

Joe Young, representing the Davis County Babe Ruth Baseball League, announced the League had received $32,000 in Davis County Community Foundation (DCCF) grant funds to construct a new Babe Ruth field at the West Sports Complex.

Young was at the meeting to repeat his request for city support and funding for the addition of a third ball field to Davis County High School’s West Sports Complex, which includes the high school’s baseball and softball fields along with concession facilities and a parking area.

Young told the council action must be taken soon as it is only 18 months until the Babe Ruth League loses the use of its present diamond at Fairgrounds Field. Young said he expects beneficial two-way sharing of the facilities between the high school and the Babe Ruth program when the additional field is completed at the West Sports Complex.

Young went on to say there are businesses that will help with funding, but they want to see the city, county, and schools cooperating on the project. Young would like to see the city and county each contribute $30,000 toward construction. That amount plus the DCCF grant would allow the field to be constructed this summer.

An additional $100,000 would be needed to install lighting in 2021.

Councilman Scott Moore asked Young for a detailed plan of costs per year. Young agreed that could be done.

Mayor Dan Wiegand said the committee appointed to discuss this project needs to meet and come up with a plan. Wiegand admitted he is not in favor of constructing the field at the West Sports Complex location.

“The $32,000 (grant) is for the West Sports Complex, not Lake Fisher,” Young reminded him.

Councilman Matt Cronin asked for a copy of the budget included in the DCCF grant application. “I would like to see this field within the city limits,” Cronin said. “Could we annex this property?

“I’m going to have a problem if this field is not in the city and city residents have to pay twice.”

Young told Cronin the county’s contribution would be taken out of the Rural Basic Fund and would not include tax money from city residents.

All agreed the committee appointed for this project some time ago needs to meet sometime in the next couple of weeks and discuss the plans in more depth.

“I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but we have only 18 months before we don’t have a field,” Young again reminded the council.

In other action, the council:

• approved payment of $48,406.92 to Lawson Construction for work completed on water main and wastewater improvements.

• approved payments to HR Green for general engineering services in amount of $1,484; services for CDBG sanitary sewer, East St. box culvert for $16,412.50; services for North Street paving project for $10,000; and services for the asphalt paving project for $10,000.

The council approved beginning-of-the-year appointments as follows: City Attorney — Harrison, Moreland, Webber, Simplot, and Maxwell, PC; Mayor Pro Tem — Darin Garrett; Police Chief — Shawn Armstrong; Fire Chief — Jeff McClure; City Clerk/Treasurer — Sandy Jones; Official Newspaper — The Bloomfield Democrat.

Liaisons were appointed to the following committees, organizations and commissions: Library Board — Jake Bohi (other members are Jen Cronin, Russ Mikels, Roger Wuthrich, Lindsey Helton, Pam Strachan, Brad Woolard, RJ Montis, Marilyn Piper, and Shannon Vesley).

Parks and Recreation Board — Scott Moore (other members are Lisa Wagler, RJ Montis, Linda Rowe, Cliff Martin, and Corey Zmolek).

Airport Commission — Andy Morris (other members are Brian Burnam, Greg Harris, Chris Miller and Jade Batterson).

DCDC Board —Bohi; DC Regional Service Agency — Garrett.

Historic Preservation Commission — Cronin (other members are Diana Upton-Hill, Kim Byrd, Lisa Wagler, and Jen Cronin).

Mutchler Center — Moore; Bloomfield Main Street — Bohi; Public Safety Commission — Earl Howard, Wiegand, Garrett; Area 15 Regional Planning Commission —Garrett; DCDC Board —Bohi; DC Regional Service Agency — Garrett; DCDC Revolving Loan — Bohi.

Mayor Dan Wiegand stated he would also be attending many of the meetings listed above.

Councilmen were assigned as liaisons to various city departments: Water — Moore; Electric — Wiegand; Streets — Garrett; Police —Howard; Wastewater — Cronin; Gas — Howard; Fire — Bohi.

Liaisons were appointed to the following city committees: Audit Committee — Howard and Cronin; Union Committee — Moore, Cronin, Morris, Attorney Gayla Harrison, and Wiegand; Hiring Committee  —Cronin, Garrett, Wiegand, and Morris; Safety Committee — DPW, Jeff McClure, Wiegand; Electrical Apprenticeship — Wiegand,  Bohi; Electric Generation and Distribution — Wiegand, Moore, DPW.