Spencer City Council Chambers sign

City announces phased reopening of facilities

The City of Spencer will begin to reopen some city facilities in phases. Those reopenings are:

Tennis courts effective May 19City campground effective Friday, May 22City hall effective June 1Library with limited services available effective June 1

Basketball courts, playgrounds, the aquatic center and Pedersen Park Fields remain closed. 

Social distancing measures will be in place at city hall and at the campground. 

At the city council meeting on Monday, City Manager Amanda Mack said playgrounds are still closed because Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has not yet lifted those orders and in a recent press conference “did allude to the notion that those would be closed for a while.”

Mack also said that aquatic centers have been a “hot topic” among city managers. Some cities have decided not to reopen their pools this year, she said. “I think we should wait a while yet and see what sort of guidance we get from the state,” Mack added. A decision on whether the aquatic center must open does not have to be made until July.

Spencer City Council Chambers sign

Council approves second filing of solid waste rate increase proposal

The Spencer City Council approved the second filing of an ordinance that would increase residential rates for solid waste charges by $0.73 per month beginning July 1. The council will need to approve the ordinance for a third filing before it goes into effect. The rate increase is for one year as city staff looks to bring a new rate schedule to the council next year that incorporates the waste disposal by weight, according to an agenda memo. Under the proposed ordinance, commercial rates will increase between $1.75 and $31.25 per month depending on container size and collection frequency. 

Ward 4 City Councilman asked whether the city or council had received any feedback from commercial users about the proposed increase. 

Nobody said that they had.

Spencer City Council Chambers sign

ATVs, golf carts to be allowed on city streets effective May 27

ATVs and golf carts will be legal to drive on city streets effective May 27. On Monday, the Spencer City Council voted 7-0 to approve the third and final filing of two sets of ordinance revisions that make those vehicles street legal on all city streets but not state highways in town. City Manager Amanda Mack said the city will work to spread awareness of the rules, including who may drive the vehicles and how to do so legally. 

Ward 4 City Councilman Donavan Wunschel suggested the city do more to share what is allowed under the ordinances. He added that there was confusion about the golf cart ordinance in the community. “We’ve got a lot of young, under age 16 kids thinking they’re going to drive (golf carts) and we definitely don’t want that,” Wunschel said. 

Mayor Kevin Robinson said the city would undertake a media campaign to “get the rules out.”

Golf cart ordinance revisions

The revisions to city code affecting golf carts now allow golf carts to be driven on city streets, but not state highways 18 and 71.

Spencer Signal circle and tower logo behind text: COVID-19 Community Updates spencersignal.com/covid19

County officials again correct state COVID-19 data

This post has been updated. Clay County still has nine confirmed COVID-19 cases, local health officials confirmed Wednesday. In a situation similar to one that occurred last week, the Iowa Department of Public Health incorrectly attributed a case to Clay County. That individual does not reside in Clay County. In an email shared with the Signal, Susan Zulk, Spencer Hospital VP of Marketing and Fund Development, stated that there could be a variety of reasons for the state misattributing cases to Clay County.

Spencer City Council Chambers sign

Council approves pool, playground program agreements with Spencer Family YMCA

The Spencer Family YMCA will staff and operate the Spencer Aquatic Center and concessions again this season, but that’s if it opens up at all. On Monday, the city council approved 7-0 the long-standing annual agreement with the Y that has been in place for years. This year’s agreement calls for the city to pay the Y $123,818 for 79 days of operation from June to August. 

However, COVID-19 concerns have forced new considerations to be made. For one, if the pool does not open by July, then it will not open for the season. Should that happen, the agreement states the city will reimburse the Y for actual costs incurred related to the aquatic center. 

If opening is delayed, then the contract payment will be reduced.