MOUNT AYR — Several attended the town council meeting at Mt. Ayr on Monday, August 5th. All had different reasons for being there — some for support, some for personal reasons, and some for curiosity about town business.
The water issue was one of the first issues that Town Council President Larry Berenda addressed. He briefly described his conversations with and the work that Kent Ames did on a tile which the town has concerns with. Kent did not think that the problematic tile was exemplary of all of Mt. Ayr’s tiling. Yoder Excavating also looked at the tile and thought that it had decent flow and that it may be a county issue. Mt. Ayr still needs to decide what to do about the town’s water and sewer systems. Audience murmurings indicated that there may be some long-term goals for the town and a planning commission.
Ron DeYoung, North Newton FFA Advisor, cleaned up the landscaping in front of the Community Center, billing the town for a minimal amount of supplies. Steve Scheckel, board member, gave an account of his investigation into play equipment and rubber mulch for the town park. The quote was $18,526.46. A community member expressed that the quote was a ridiculous amount for the number of kids that use it. Berenda explained that unfortunately, proper equipment is going to be expensive. After additional clarifications and discussions, especially about the rubber mulch, Berenda asked Scheckel to get more quotes on playground (wood) mulch and a smaller playset. The current play area was constructed almost 20 years ago, paid through grant money.
When discussions of town ordinances arose, town legal counsel, Rebecca Goddard said that in researching Mt. Ayr’s ordinance history, there are several older and outdated ones that need refreshing. One of the more recent ones that passed, about junk vehicles, sparked a heated contestation. It was reported that a town resident essentially has a junkyard on his property that irritates his neighbors. Mitchel Williamson demanded that the board do something to remedy this problem immediately because the letters and casual requests are not working. The Veenstra property has been on the town meeting agenda for several months, plenty of time in Williamson’s mind, to yield more substantial results.
Donations approved this month by the Mt. Ayr Board were $1,000 to the retirement home community in Morocco, and $3,000 to the Reserve Deputy Officers. North Newton School Corporation sent a letter requesting a donation toward student athletic event gate fees. June Miller, Township Trustee, mentioned some discipline issues when parents just drop their kids off at events and do not stay to supervise them. According to parents, the free student tickets are not enough because it puts a financial strain on the families to have to pay to get into school events, plus the cost of food and gas. June will meet with the North Newton Athletic Director to do some creative problem-solving. Terri Pasierb asked about having a donation budget in the future so that contributions are more accounted for and equitable.
The rental for the Quonset in town was up for renewal. The town received three bids; after opening, a public auction commenced with Kent Neibert and Larry Berenda emerging with the top verbal bid.
The Projects Committee reported on their Back to School Bingo night. Eleven students took home full backpacks, and are ready for the start of school. Clara praised the town’s effort in putting together information and memorabilia for the 100th Pun’kin Vine Fair. June Miller won the Mt. Ayr History book through a drawing. Clara suggested purchasing more books to have for sale in the office, the board agreed. A significant part of Mt. Ayr history is in the old general store that has been restored by Dan Thomas. Dan has pictures of the building from its glory days, as well as the recently revitalized pictures for comparison. It is more of a private museum and can be visited by appointment through Dan. The town picnic will be on August 18th from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm in the park, and the Arbor Day celebration will be on the morning of September 21st, also in the park.