By Alex Foltz
A new committee to oversee building permits, video live streaming, and various street issues were on the agenda at the Muscatine City Council meeting on Thursday, March 8.

Council member Kelcey Brackett presented a draft document concerning the establishment of an ad hoc committee for the review of the building permit process. This committee stems from a letter received from the Board of Supervisors concerning the permit process.

Multiple council members expressed confusion as to the purpose of the proposed committee. The committee would not contain a representative from city staff, which was a point of concern. Council member Santos Saucedo expressed concern about including the county in this process, as the city is separate from the county. Council member Allen Harvey asked for clarification on the timeline of the committee formation. Council members Harvey, Tom Spread and Phillip Fitzgerald voted no on advancing the committee formation. Council members Osmond Malcom, Nadine Brockert, Brackett, and Saucedo voted yes. The resolution passed four to three.

Mayor Diana introduced a video project that would highlight to the community what good projects have been done. This project would be weekly. Chad Yocom, a representative of Media Tree, a local video production company and livestreaming service, helped present the video demo. Broderson expressed a desire to include the council as guests on the video updates.

Yocom stated there would be no cost for him to produce a weekly video unless the council wanted to air this over a local television channel such as Channel 2. That cost would only be what the council already pays to broadcast the meetings.

“A project with this much potential, a positive impact in the community,  it’s worth more to do it. To profit from it, that’s not why I’d like to do it. I have the ability and think it’s the right thing to do,” Yocom said.

Discussion followed about the possibility of airing video over a channel like Channel 2, as well as the benefits that this video project could provide. The project was approved for a 90-day trial period to gauge its performance.

Public Works Director Brian Stineman brought forth a resident’s concerns over parking on Leroy Street. A resident requested that no parking be allowed on this street as the street is only 26 feet wide from curb to curb. Six residents from Leroy St. and one from Amherst Avenue came forward to voice concerns over no parking for their families or guests if the street was changed to a no parking street, as well as the lower property values that could result. After discussion on costs and traffic concerns, Stineman stated he would take the item back to his committee.

Discussion then moved to reopening a portion of Whicher Street from 8th Street to 5th Street. Stineman presented plans for future construction and the detour issues that would arise when 8th Street is closed. If the section of Whicher St. was repaired and reopened, it would provide a valuable detour. Stineman asked for consensus to research this project, which would include meeting with Whicher St. residents. The council agreed that Stineman should move forward.

Spread, Brockert, and Brackett thanked citizens for turning out to vote on the local option sales tax. Brackett also mentioned a soapbox derby is possibly being planned. Saucedo thanked the community for working with the quiet zone, as well as the staff who assisted with it.

Harvey will sit in as mayor during the next meeting on Thursday, March 15.