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Barker doesn’t get to hook up, threatens suit

An appointment with Bill Barker led to threats of lawsuits during Creston City Council’s regular meeting Tuesday.

The threats resulted after Barker requested separate sewer service for a property, 909 W. Townline St., he is seeking to purchase, and a waiver from city code, Section 95.08.

Barker said he wants to hook into the private sewer line owned by Kent Sinn, who owns the house and nearby commercial property. Barker said his other option is to hook the sewer line into the city’s main, which is currently required by city code, Section 95.08. However, to hook into the private line owned by Sinn, it would require cutting through property owned by Dennis Hopkins.

Councilman at-large Terry Freeman asked Barker if he had talked to Hopkins.

“I didn’t know I had to,” said Barker.

Public Works Director Kevin Kruse said permission would be needed by all parties for the city to approve a waiver from Section 95.08.

Barker, who hasn’t purchased the property yet, said Sinn and Hopkins “don’t have a problem with it because they aren’t here to object.”

The council discussed quietly and one member said it appears they may need to follow city code, and that’s when Barker became visibly upset.

“Well, you ain’t got room. I’m going to hook on to Sinn, that’s what I’m going to do. Otherwise I’m not going to buy the property,” said Barker.

“Well, that would be your choice,” said Freeman.

“No, it’s not my choice. It’s your choice,” shouted Barker. “I’ll go across Lincoln Street then.”

Freeman said that would be Barker’s call.

“I have a problem. ... You guys won’t let me hook into Mr. Sinn’s, but nobody’s objecting but you guys,” said Barker.

“I know nothing about your ... “ Freeman said, before being interrupted by Barker.

“Well, then let me hook into it. What’s the problem? I didn’t act like there was any problem. We just have a vote here, like, let’s go,” said Barker.

Barker, who continued to cut off council members as they tried to speak, said when someone had hooked into his line in the past, no one asked his permission and he did not have a say.

“Mr. Barker, I’m not going to argue with you. As I said, I don’t know the history of your situation. I feel ... ,” said Freeman.

“Well, that’s not good. I put up a lot of crap. I have back up sewer insurance. I guess I’ll have to sue each one of you individually, then we’ll go to the IRS,” said Barker before exiting the council chambers.

“We didn’t even get to make a motion,” said Marsha Wilson, Creston Ward 4 represenative.

In other city council news:

• Did not vote on a resolution to postpone a public hearing to amend the Urban Renewal Plan for the Downtown Urban Renewal Area, a proposed Creston Lodging and Urban Renewal Plan and a proposal to enter into a development agreement with Creston Lodging, LLC. City Administrator Mike Taylor said that he had “received notification” Tuesday the project is “done, off the table” and recommended the public hearing be cancelled.

• Approved a resolution to accept a $42,500 grant award from the Iowa Department of Transportation for the installation of the Wind Cone Project at Creston Municipal Airport.

• Approved the annual city street financial report.

• Approved the purchase of two new squad vehicles for the Creston Police Department. Creston Police Chief Paul Ver Meer said a Ford will be purchased using a trade in, and the the purchase of Dodge Durango for the K-9 features rear air and heat where the dog will be cargoed. Both vehicles purchases will be partially funded through a USDA grant.

• Approved the purchase of a new Dodge pickup truck for $23,609 for the Waste Water Department.

• Approved the adoption of seven policies relating to the Community Development Block Grand Program for the DTR Facade Improvement Project.

• Approved a motion to table a discussion regarding an order to abate a nuisance property, 1018 N. Spruce St. Trudy LaRosee, the owner of the house, agreed with the council that a tree needs to be removed. However, she was cited 10 days prior to the meeting and notified it must be removed within 14 days. After seeking estimates from a number of local companies, the estimate of $2,500 exceeds her budget. After speaking with Kevin Kruse, Creston Public Works director, Kruse suggested the tree be removed by the city and the expense be assessed on LaRosse’s property tax bill. LaRosse, who is turning 68 and retired, asked the council to consider putting a lien on her property, which would allow her to stay in her house for two years, and would pay the city upon selling the house at that time. Taylor said he needed time to consult others on the process and legalities before a solution can be recommended.

• Approved an easement requested by Mark O’Riley, who will place up to 11 paved, angled parking spaces on a city right-of-way at 417 Wyoming Ave.

• Approved to set a public hearing on Sept. 18 for an easement request by Larry Tonnar, who would like to build a fence on city right-of-way at 815 N. Sycamore Street.

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