Monona Council approves MCED funding

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

The city of Monona will continue to fund Monona Chamber and Economic Development (MCED) at an amount of $12,000 per year, matching the allocation MCED has requested for the past few years. 

The city council approved the request at its Oct. 22 meeting, following the quarterly MCED report. 

“There’s been a lot of activity going on, a lot of interaction,” said MCED Board President Linda Knockel. 

In the past five years, she said MCED has nearly tripled its membership, to 70 businesses. 

Fellow board member Justin Birdnow added that 20 more businesses could still potentially be members. 

Knockel said visits to the MCED website have also continued to increase, as has promotion of the community. 

“There’s a lot out there showing what we’re doing, what Monona is all about,” she stated. 

She said one of MCED’s goals is to better record the phone calls that come in, allowing executive director Rogeta Halvorson and the board to notice if there is a trend in the information people are seeking. 

Knockel also addressed MCED’s hours. The office is currently open Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., then by appointment on Fridays. 

Councilman Dan Havlicek, citing comments from community members, wondered why the office isn’t open on Fridays. 

Knockel said it’s not that Halvorson isn’t working on Fridays. Instead, she spends the day visiting members or attending seminars and workshops. This schedule allows for more flexibility. 

“It’s not a 40-hours-behind-the-desk job,” she said. “We’ve got a strong person who’s going out and meeting businesses.” 

“If it was 40 hours behind a desk, it would fail,” she added. 

Property purchase approved 

The council officially approved the sale of the residential property at 400 S. Main St. to Russ Bries, at a cost of $1. 

The city took possession of the abandoned residential property over the summer and, in September, accepted offers for the purchase of the lot. 

Per the agreement, city administrator Dan Canton said Bries must tear down the building on the lot by June 30, 2019. 

Police seek resolution to repeat calls 

During her monthly report to the council, Monona Police Chief Jo Amsden said, lately, the department has had calls to some residences over and over again. 

Her complaint prompted the council to wonder if an ordinance could be created that charged landlords fees for responding to those repeat calls. 

Canton said other cities have ordinances like that, and noted he would look up examples and speak with attorney Greg Schiller about the city’s options.

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