Shenandoah council reduces water rationing from stage four to stage one | News

(Shenandoah) — In the wake of recent rainfall, the city of Shenandoah is no longer in stage four water rationing.

Meeting in regular session Tuesday evening, the Shenandoah City Council unanimously approved the city water department’s recommendation to drastically reduce the water rationing efforts from stage four down to stage one, which only includes voluntary conservation. Late last year, the city jumped to stage three conservation for the first time in 23 years before increasing to stage four in November, where it had remained since due to the city’s water well levels. However, in reading a letter from Water Superintendent Tim Martin, Shenandoah Mayor Roger McQueen says the move back to stage one comes after heavy rains rolled through much of the region over the past month.

“Due to recent rainfall and increased water levels, (Martin) is recommending that the water conservation stage four be changed to stage one–voluntary water conservation,” said McQueen. “However, the water department will continue to closely monitor well levels and well pump performance as summer heats up. If rainfall drops off causing well pumping levels to drop to low levels or if overall demand of water should increase during the summer heat, a recommendation of returning to a higher level of water conservation will be made.”

The action also removes several regulations that had been in place restricting the watering of yards, washing of houses, decks, sidewalks, buildings, driveways, and vehicles, or filling swimming pools with city-provided water. However, McQueen still urges residents to be mindful of their water consumption during the summer months.

“When we first did the voluntary (conservation), everybody did a good job, but we ask you to please continue to do that,” McQueen stressed. “Because, sure things have gotten better, but we’re going into the worst of summer right now.”

In his letter, Martin noted the city is also working on two separate well projects to help prevent the need to go into stage four rationing in the future. While residents can now fill their swimming pools, the city pool at the Wilson Aquatic Center will remain closed until needed repairs are conducted. Among those is pool slide restorations, for which the council approved a contract with Fischer Bros. LLC for $182,000 Tuesday night. Councilman Kim Swank noted the park board voted on the recommendation unanimously.

“They’re excited about the program from what they’ve seen and it should really improve that pool,” said Swank. “Without it, I don’t think we could have even opened up the slide–we would have had to shut it down.”

City Administrator A.J. Lyman says the restoration is a more cost-effective option than replacing the slides, which he says was in the range of $500,000. He says the city plans to seek a few different funding options for the slide repairs.

“The plan will be to apply for a couple of grants through local foundations and if anybody wanted to donate to that specifically we would certainly accept that,” he said. “Then, from there, we’d use community betterment funds to make up that gap.”

Lyman has also previously noted that roughly $60,000 was also budgeted for the city pool this upcoming fiscal year from portions of the water and wastewater rate revenues. The city water conservation ordinance is also available on the city’s website.

In other business, the council…

–Approved a contract of services with Shenandoah Sanitation for solid waste collection which would leave the collection services as is, while adding on the option for residents to request two bulk item and two appliance pick-ups throughout the year. The addition, officials with Waste Connections say, would add 40 cents to each residence’s monthly trash bill.

–Approved the second reading, waived the third, and adopted an amendment to the city’s cemetery ordinance, authorizing the city’s park and recreation department to oversee the Rose Hill Cemetery operations following the retirement of Cemetery Sexton Sherry Gibilisco. The city would also retain the cemetery board.

–Held a public hearing and approved a budget amendment for fiscal year 2024.

–Approved renewing a participation agreement with the Southwest Iowa Planning Council for the regional transit system for $5,000.

–Approved a contract for the Shenandoah Public Library exterior sunshade project for around $345,000.

–Approved a request for a 90-day extension on a rehab contract for 208 East Sheridan Avenue to Dave Gutierrez.

–Approved a pay application of just over $159,000 to A.M. Cohron and Son for the Southwest Road Bridge Replacement project.

–Approved a public event application for Tipsy Trail from noon on July 6th until midnight July 7th for a street dance, so long as all music ceases at midnight.

–Approved a public benefit event application from the Forum to Revitalize Shenandoah for the Star Spangled Shenandoah event on July 3rd and also the forum’s request for a temporary exclusion of Chapter 45.02 to allow public consumption of alcohol in Sportsman’s Park.

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