Bethany Council Requests Another Park Board Oversight Ordinance For Review

Another draft of an ordinance regarding oversight of the spending authority and potentially personnel of the Bethany Parks Department will be brought before Bethany’s City Council at a future meeting. Councilman Randy Brejnik made the request during a meeting on Tuesday night. Previously, the city council and the Park Board agreed that the Park Board would keep exclusive control of monies that are budgeted, deposited, and collected into the Park Fund. The Park Board also has the ability to redirect funding that comes in as a surplus as long as the spending is under $5,000. The money is also being kept in a separate account that is apart from the other monies and accounts of the City of Bethany. Councilman Brejnik stated that he would like an ordinance considered that gives the council input into appointing a director for the Parks and Recreation Department. The councilman said during the discussion that he would like an ordinance that would require the Park Board to stay committed to the items and projects that in the budget that is approved annually by the Bethany Board of Aldermen. The ordinance is only to be presented before the council at a future meeting. Councilman Lance Johns also entered the discussion on the issue. He seemed content with the current arrangement and stated that a move toward passing such a measure would likely be extremely unpopular with current Park Board members and may repel members from serving on the current board or future park boards. He also stated that the board had made positive and tangible improvements for the city.

Council members also agreed to a letter that will be written by the Bethany Fire Department that amends their Mutual Aid Agreement with the Gilman City Fire Department. On a recommendation of Bethany Fire Chief Dave Kinnison, a letter to be sent to the Gilman City Fire Protection District to limit the mutual aid support of the Bethany Fire Department within the Gilman City Fire District territory to confirmed structure fires or other fires that threaten structures and vehicle fires where there is a life safety concern. Chief Kinnison announced that mutual aid requests to the Bethany Fire Department have increased to 28 this year after 13 mutual fire aid requests for the department last year.

Bethany City Administrator Jacob Taylor announced that the Bethany 136 Commercial Improvement District is anticipating paying off outstanding debt this year with the CID project essentially complete. A public hearing will be held on September 23rd at 10am at Bethany City Hall that is part of the process. That process will require a resolution to repeal the CID tax, the preparation of a plan of dissolution, and eventually the council vote to terminate the district.

Bethany’s Council also gave their approval to seek Request for Proposals for the construction of EV Charging Stations to be located in Bethany. Bethany’s site at the junction of Interstate 35 and 136 Highway is one of 9 DNR-approved sites that could seek financing for state funding that would contribute 80 percent of the cost for the project. Bethany’s commitment would be $57,000 dollars for the project. The city would only continue the project if the state funding is approved. That project would be part of the 2020-21 budget.