Des Moines’ finances ‘definitely looking better’; union spat delays contract
by Jack Mayne
The Des Moines City Council was told the city ended 2015 with a positive balance of $1.3 million on revenues of $18 million and expenditures of $17.4 million.
The Council also delayed approving a labor contract for clerks in the Municipal Court because two of the four people involved disputed the fairness of the document.
It also made some zoning modifications for the Pacific Ridge commercial area and bought a new set of printers for the city.
“This is improved but is still only about 57 percent of the 2016 minimum fund balance requirement of $2,365,819,” her report to the Council said.
“We are definitely going in the right direction,” said Mason, “we made a significant improvement but it just takes time to get all the way to where we need to get to.”
“Good progress, good trend. Things are definitely looking better,” Mason said.
Court union pact delayed
After two clerks in the Des Moines Municipal Court asked the Council not approve a proposed union contract the Council held an executive session and then Mayor Matt Pina pulled the contract off the Council agenda, where routine items are generally approved without discussion.
The union dispute became public when court clerks Pamela Macondo and Debra Phillipson, asked the Council Thursday night (March 10) not to approve a union contract that covers their positions. The contract was “done under unfair bargaining, deception, discrimination” against them.
The proposed collective bargaining agreement is with a new four-member bargaining unit negotiated by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. The union said that the members approved it on Feb. 29.
Pacific Ridge changes
A public hearing that drew no public comment made changes in the zoning rules for development in Pacific Ridge.
Management Consultant Grant Fredrick’s said Des Moines City Councils have since 2000 worked to “transform Pacific Ridge into a new urban community that takes advantage of its geographic location, local and regional transportation linkages, stable soils, and view potential.”
The Pacific Ridge is hoped to be “an area of multi-story businesses and residences that make Pacific Ridge inviting to residents and businesses, increase economic development, complement other areas of Des Moines, and foster community pride.”
Fredrick said the proposed ordinance would clarify that “at least 75 percent of the ground floor shall be dedicated to commercial uses” and that residential uses cannot be on the street level. The ordinance says the City Manager could make modest changes in that requirement, said City Manager Tony Piasecki.
The changes are to clear up conflicts between various parts of city statutes and were unanimously approved by the Council.
The Council also unanimously approved a purchase contract for 11 copiers for $92,942.