Spencer City Council Chambers sign

Robinson says Clay County, Spencer residents have taken COVID-19 seriously

Anyone watching Monday’s Spencer City Council meeting online or in person would have noticed a couple of social distancing-inspired seating changes. Council members and city staff were more spread out, with each of the council members sitting at individual tables. Mayor Kevin Robinson, city staff and Ward 1 City Councilman Tom Nelson also wore masks inside during the meeting. “We’re trying to spread out,” Robinson said during the meeting. “We’re trying to keep everybody safe and that’s why you’ll see people spread out all over the council room here tonight.”

At the end of the meeting, Robinson closed by praising the community on how it has handled COVID-19.

Spencer City Council Chambers sign

City to purchase new mosquito sprayer, apply for traffic light grant

Spencer’s getting a new piece of equipment for its annual mosquito battle. On Monday, the Spencer City Council approved the purchase of a London Foggers Model 18-20/GPS Mosquito Sprayer for $15,940. The purchase was identified in this year’s capital improvement plan, but only for $14,500. The rest of the money will be covered through the public works equipment reserve. According to an agenda memo, because the project is over budget, a budget amendment will likely be needed.

U.S. Sen Joni Ernst tours the free medical clinic area at Grand Avenue Community Outreach in Spencer.

Sen. Joni Ernst makes stops at GACO, The Iowa Project

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst visited Spencer on Tuesday, making stops at Grand Avenue Community Outreach and The Iowa Project Brewing Company. During her visit, Ernst praised the outreach (GACO) for its approach to helping people in the community. “You do want to make sure you are finding solutions and an avenue for someone if they can’t find what they need here, finding it somewhere else or giving them advice on where they can go to get assistance,” Ernst said. “That’s exactly what you have developed here in your own community. It’s basically a one-stop shop for the folks that need it the most.”

Spencer City Council Chambers sign

City council meeting notes: July 6, 2020

The Spencer City Council discussed the following items at its regular meeting on Monday. Planned Unit Residential Development, development ordinances clear final filings

The Spencer City Council approved, 7-0, the third and final filings of two separate ordinances, one amending parts of the city code pertaining to Planned Unit Residential Developments (PURDs) and the other pertaining to subdivision definitions. Both ordinances seek to make city code less restrictive for future housing developments. Mayor Kevin Robinson thanked city staff and others involved in the effort to get the code changed. “This is a culmination of about a year-long process of cleaning up planning development, those kinds of things,” he said.

Spencer City Council Chambers sign

Council clears purchase of AC units and ductwork for city hall second floor

Spencer’s new city hall needs new rooftop air conditioning units and ductwork for the building’s second floor. 

On Monday, the Spencer City Council approved, with a 7-0 vote, the purchase of four units and the ductwork from Hanson’s Plumbing and Heating for $28,200. It’s not clear what happened to the current units, City Manager Amanda Mack told the council, but all need to be replaced. “I don’t think we’ve come to any resolution other than it was an electrical event,” Mack said. Those AC units were working when the city took over the building. Mack said Northwest Bank, the building’s previous owner before the city purchased the building and began renovations, has said the units were working when the sale closed.

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

Spencer Family Aquatic Center to open July 1

The Spencer Family Aquatic Center will open for the season on July 1. The pool’s opening had been delayed this year due to COVID-19 restrictions and concerns. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds lifted restrictions on pools last week, allowing cities to decide if and when to open municipal pools to the public. 

New guidelines will be in place at the aquatic center, including a 50% bather capacity limit, about 125 people. 

Other rules include:

– Required sign-in and sign-out to make contact tracing easier if necessary- Screening questions prior to entry- Anyone younger than 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult- Cleaning at the top of the hour during the 15 minute break- Groups of 2 to 3 chairs spaced six feet apart throughout the facility- Recommendation that patrons wear masks while on the deck- No gatherings on the deck- Markings to help with social distancing- No drinking fountains or concessions

View more rules that will be in effect this season at the aquatic center.

Spencer City Council Chambers sign

City Council meeting notes: June 15, 2020

The Spencer City Council discussed the following topics at its regular meeting on June 15, 2020. Council approves sale of former railroad right-of-way property to Iowa DOT for $225K

The Spencer City Council held a public hearing and then approved, 7-0, the sale of 9.66 acres of former railroad right-of-way property to the Iowa Department of Transportation for $225,000. The property is located on north U.S. Highway 71. Ward 5 Councilman Ron Hanson asked whether those funds were earmarked for any project or specific fund. City Finance Director Brian Weuve said the funds would likely go back to the street fund.

future Spencer City Hall building

No Boundaries program to operate out of Spencer City Hall

A program that offers real world experience to area high school students by letting them work on projects for local businesses, nonprofits and government entities will be housed at Spencer City Hall for the upcoming school year. The Spencer City Council on Monday approved, 7-0, a resource sharing agreement with the Spencer Community School District to house the No Boundaries program at Spencer City Hall. 

Spencer Schools started the No Boundaries program this past school year. It’s a joint program between Spencer, Okoboji and Graetenger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayshire schools for junior and senior students. “The purpose was to give real world experience to these students,” Spencer Community Schools Director of Improvement Will Dible told the council. “To just get them both work- and college-ready, you know, give them the actual live experience.”

The program will have a space upstairs in city hall that is unoccupied right now.

Spencer City Council Chambers sign

Council supports IGL Construction housing development

George Moriarty knows Spencer needs more housing. It make sense, then, that the at-large city councilman was excited to be part of a 7-0 unanimous vote Monday night approving a resolution of support for a housing project planned by IGL Construction at 221 32nd Avenue West. “Hallelujah!” Moriarty exclaimed following the vote. According to an agenda memo from city staff, the homes are meant “to meet the growing workforce housing need in the region.”

Spencer City Council Chambers sign

City council notes: June 1, 2020

The Spencer City Council discussed the following during its regular meeting on June 1. First filing of ordinance concerning planned unit residential development approved

The Spencer City Council held a public hearing on and then voted 7-0 to approve the first filing of an ordinance that makes a number of changes to city code regarding planned unit residential development (PURD). Changes to that code, according to an agenda item memo from staff, will allow for smaller lot sizes in new developments, which helps the city in creating more workforce housing. The recommendations were included in the city’s economic development strategic plan that was completed by David Toyer. The amendments are:

Reducing the required PURD common open area from 10% to 5%Reducing the required PURD minimum site size from 5 acres to 1 acreEstablishing the following minimum standards:Minimum lot area: 4,000 square feetMinimum lot width: 40 feetMaximum height: 45 feetFront yard setback: 20 feetSide yard setback: 5 feetRear yard setback: 15 feetMaximum lot coverage: 80%

Final filing of solid waste rates and charges increase approved

The council voted 7-0 to approve the third and final filing of an ordinance that increases solid waste rates and charges effective July 1.