Council OKs sewer bill break for CJ Bio America

CJ Bio America received a nearly $70,000 reduction in its recent sanitary sewer bills as a result of action by the Fort Dodge City Council on Monday.

City Manager David Fierke told the council that the company used a significant amount of water starting in July as it prepared to start up its amino acid plant west of the city. He said the wastewater discharged from the plant was very clean and required less treatment.

The measure approved Monday reduces the company’s sewer bills from July through Oct. 24 by 60 percent, or $69,283.46.

Between Oct. 25 and the end of the year, the company’s bills will be reduced by 10 percent.

”We’re not really costing the city anything and the other rate payers aren’t being burdened by this,” Fierke said.

The current budget did not anticipate any sanitary sewer system revenue from CJ Bio America before January, so the city will be getting more money than expected even with the rate reduction.

Councilman Andy Fritz was absent from the otherwise unanimous vote to approve the agreement.

In other business, the council approved agreements to jumpstart the construction of three new homes in the Lincoln neighborhood. That construction has been stymied by a lack of money.

”Funds to pay vendors who have supplied materials and labor to date and funds to finish these units have been depleted,” Vickie Reeck, the city’s community development manager, wrote in a report to the council.

In April 2012, the city entered agreements with Twin Rivers Habitat for Humanity and the Fort Dodge Community School District for the construction of houses at 915 Fourth Ave. N., 923 Fourth Ave. N., 918 Third Ave. N. and 910 Third Ave. N.

The house at 915 Fourth Ave, N. is complete and was purchased by a family participating in the Habitat for Humanity program. The other three houses are in various stages of completion.

Under the agreements approved Monday, suppliers with outstanding bills agree to wait for payment until each home is complete and sold. The Fort Dodge Community School District will supply trades students to work on the houses, and Bill McAnally, a retired Iowa Central Community College instructor, will provide technical assistance and oversight. Twin Rivers Habitat for Humanity would assume responsibility for any outstanding bills for the first house and would contribute any materials already acquired for the others.

City Attorney Mark Crimmins said the agreements are awaiting approval by Twin Rivers Habitat for Humanity.

Also on Monday, the council hired Troy Kleppe as a police officer. Kleppe is a reserve police office who has given 989 hours of volunteer service to the community since 2012, according to Police Chief Tim Carmody. The new police officer worked as security officer at Trinity Regional Medical Center and is a veteran of the Iowa Army National Guard. He is a graduate of Eagle Grove High School and is working on a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Phoenix.