City reappoints officials, welcomes judge
Police chief Doug Bergstrom, clerk/treasurer Kathy Olofson, superintendent Mark Brown and attorney Al Wall were reappointed by Holyoke City Council at its April 16 meeting.
The four appointments are made every two years in addition to the appointment of Holyoke’s municipal court judge.
Tammy Kelley was chosen to replace outgoing municipal court judge Dave Colver, pending the approval of Kelley’s employer, Cline Williams Wright Johnson and Oldfather, LLP.
The salaries for all positions were included in the January budget. The chief’s salary is set at $67,127 per year, clerk/treasurer $61,380, superintendent $91,459 and attorney $20,521.
Playground repairs approved
The council approved an estimated $7,700 of replacement parts for the playground at City Park, following a March 9 car crash that took out several pieces of playground equipment.
The damaged area is currently blocked off by a piece of plywood.
Because the ownership of the car is in question, Brown and Bergstrom said they are still trying to establish whose insurance policy will cover the damage.
Brown also reported that electrical crews resolved power outages on March 7, 10 and 29, and addressed several calls related to recent storms.
Brown said the April 12 test of Holyoke’s tornado siren system went well, with the only nonfunctional siren located on the golf course. He said the placement of the siren prevents it from receiving the radio waves that trigger a blast and that he is working to find a solution.
Water and sewer crews are working on the alfalfa sprinkler system and doing quarterly well testing. The street department is filling cracks, sweeping streets and picking up fallen tree branches.
The pilots’ lounge at Holyoke Municipal Airport was also demolished and backfilled, and a request was submitted to Phillips County Board of Commissioners to declare a citywide cleanup day in early May.
Officials, rec director report
Olofson said she will review the City’s recent 2018 audit by Scott Szabo of auditing firm Lauer, Szabo & Associates, PC. She will also write the local highway finance report and management discussion and analysis report, and will have
the audit ready to present in June.
She also reported that the City received $2,200.03 from PC Telcom for a capital credit refund, as well as a $71.03 patronage check from CHS.
Bergstrom reported that his department, including code enforcement, handled or generated 346 calls for service from March 28-April 10. They wrote 18 citations and two reports and gave out 53 warnings. Code enforcement handled two dogs at large and eight ordinance violations.
Bergstrom also said he spoke with the owner of the bushes obstructing visibility at the intersection of Gordon Street and Campbell Avenue and gave them until May 7 to trim the bushes.
Wall said that he expects to get a draft of the City’s new codes from recodification firm Municode by April 30. He estimates that the project, which has been underway since 2017, could be finished before the end of July.
He also agreed to draft a resolution for the council’s consideration to declare Holyoke a “Second Amendment Sanctuary City.” The resolution would codify the City’s opposition to the state’s new “red flag” gun law, which was passed this month and goes into effect next year.
Recreation director Victoria Dunker said she expects the upcoming Point Guard College basketball camp to fill all of its 30 spots. The camp will run May 31-June 1, at Holyoke High School. At the time of the meeting, she reported that five of the 17 youths who had signed up for the camp were from out of town.
She also said registration for baseball, softball, T-ball and machine pitch is open and that Holyoke FCCLA will be participating in the City’s cleanup day by cleaning the City tennis courts.
— Held a 45-minute executive session to confer with Wall on specific legal questions and discuss the transfer of property.
— Amended a personnel policy to exclude the recreation director from the requirement that permanent employees live within 15 minutes of the municipal building.
— Held a 30-minute work session with Brown to hear a proposal for water and wastewater system engineering.
— Approved an $85 travel request for Brown to attend the Action Now Seminar in Sterling.
— Hired part-time summer help, including John Zilla for $11.50 per hour, Ron Koberstein for $11.25, and Jose Prieto and Hunter Bergstrom for $11.10 each. An additional employee may also be hired at $11.10.
— Agreed to table a vote on purchasing optional medical insurance for police detainees through CIRSA.
— Approved an $87.50 per month pay raise for HPD officer Jorge Salas, who completed his field training by April 12.