At last week’s City Council meeting, council members received reports from both the museum and library directors. Both programs remain very active in the community providing a number of services to area patrons.

Museum Director Emily Nelson noted the FFA Historical & Ag Museum has been working on a strategic planning process to determine a vision and direction for the museum. Results from recent museum surveys shows a desire for more programming at the Museum. Recent programs and events include multiple tours, hosting a retirement event Union Community Schools. The Museum also hosted the Mobile Museum at Festival of Trails and over 300 people viewed the display. Summer programming has focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programming.

Nelson also shared that the museum has been looking into options for repair of the façade and other minor work on the Fire Station museum. Estimated cost to have the work done is $6,000. Nelson also informed the Council that one of the air conditioners at the Main museum is no longer working and needs to be replaced. A cost estimate to replace the unit and move it off the roof has been pegged at $2,800.

Library Director Jolene Kronschnabel provided an update for Fiscal Year 2019 at Hawkins Memorial Library. During the year that ran from July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019, patrons saved over $215,000 by using the library instead of purchasing materials. Use of Bridges, the library’s eBooks system, increased 12% from FY18. Volunteers recorded 625 hours of service. The library also completed microfilm/digitization of back issues of The Progress Review, making news published in the local newspaper dating back to the 1870s through 2017 available for free online searching.

With the adoption of Senate File (SF) 634, passed by the Iowa legislature and signed by Governor Reynolds on May 23, 2019, the Council adopted Ordinance 551 – Operating Budget Preparation. The ordinance changes the requirement that the public hearing for state budget adoption be held prior to May 15 and instead require that it be held prior to the date that the budget must be certified to the county auditor. SF 634 requires an additional public notice and public hearing as part of the municipal budgeting process, a measure designed to better inform taxpayers about the total number of dollars that are being levied to fund local government.

In other business, the Council adopted a resolution accepting the preliminary plat for Sweet 2nd Addition. When completed, Sweet 2nd Addition will provide eight new lots for residential housing east of the adjacent Sweet 1st Addition.

The Council also reviewed a summary of the recent community survey conducted by Fusion Forward. Fusion Forward will be using information from the survey for logo, tagline and marketing plan development.