"There are a lot of things going on in the community right now. Really, really good things," John Bird, Emmetsburg City Administrator, told members of the City Council Monday night. "I just get so frustrated when people focus only on the negative."
Bird encouraged the council, and the community, to focus on the positive.
"I, for one, believe we can carry through with all these projects if we do it wisely if we do it in stages. I' looking at just this past year and the things we've accomplished."
Projects Bird highlighted include Kearney Park paving project completed by the DNR; the facade program for downtown Emmetsburg; a new industry coming to town, Aluma locating in the former SkyJack building; another new industry trying to build in the business park; highway improvements, a state of Iowa project.
"Just incredible things are going on in this community right now and I thank the mayor and the council for your support in wanting to move forward. We've got to stick together as a team," he said.
The City Administrator continued, "I found out this evening (Monday) there has been a third anonymous call to a different agency. This time to the State Auditor."
Bird explained that an anonymous call was made to the State Auditor, who then contacted the city's CPA, stating that the anonymous tipper said the CPA should look into questionable transactions with Gramowski Construction (Councilman Corey Gramowski) and Jensvold Motors (Councilman Steve Finer).
"Everything that Corey Gramowski has ever done for the city since he's been on the city council has been by way of competitive, sealed bid. No laws were broken. No favors have been given," said Bird. "As far as Jensvold Motors, any time we bid vehicles for the city and municipal utilities, it's by sealed bid. Obviously we do have some work done there in terms of service work on our vehicles, but we also use the other local businesses.
"All of these businesses pay property and I think they deserve our business," Bird added. "If we've got to start taking bids for oil changes in our vehicles, you're going to be paying people up here to do things they shouldn't have to do.
"Those who seek to undermine and knock the legs out of what I see as a pretty progressive city, maybe need to take a step back and broaden their views," the City Administrator stated.
Mayor Myrna Heddinger added, "It really gets under my skin that people are so small that they have to go behind somebody's back to do something so sneaky. It causes nothing but an undermining of the infrastructure of the city that we work so hard to make so progressive."
Anonymous calls were made to the CAT grant board regarding the city's application for grant funds for a community center; and also to the EPA regarding removal of asbestos from the clubhouse at Five Island Golf before that building is razed.
"The thing is, with the asbestos, we already had the inspection done and we already had the contractors lined up to remove it," said Bird. "All the person would have had to do, rather than call down to the EPA in Kansas City, would be come up here (to City Hall) and say, 'have you checked to see if there is asbestos in that building.' It's a public document. It (the asbestos) is in two forms. We know where it is. It's non-friable. We're ready to take it out before demolition begins."
Five Island Golf and Community Center will close its doors Sunday, Sept. 30. Some inventory is being sold at garage sale prices Friday and Saturday, Oct. 5 and 6.
The asbestos crew will be in the building Oct. 16 and Shamrock Recycling is scheduled to begin demolition on Oct. 22.