By Alex Foltz

The Muscatine City Council met for a regular meeting March 15 at 7 p.m. All council members were present, except for Mayor Diana Broderson. Councilman Allen Harvey accepted the duties of mayor pro tem. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, a moment of silence took place to honor former Councilman Bob Bynum’s memory.
A request concerning opportunity zones was discussed. Due to recent tax law changes on the federal level, a new program concerning opportunity zones has emerged. Councilman Santos Saucedo requested information as to what this could mean. City Administrator Gregg Mandsager informed the council that this program requires the City to submit applications to the State of Iowa for opportunity zones to be declared. The Governor then needs to approve the request to recommend it to the federal government. An opportunity zone allows tax benefits to be offered that can incentivize development in these areas. There is no cost to the city, as it is a federal program. After more discussion, this resolution was approved.
“What it could do is encourage development here in town in areas where we’d like to see development, and nobody’s so far taken advantage of those areas, but this fund could then direct that investment in things we need around town,” Councilman Kelsey Brackett said.
The Spring Clean-up Week was scheduled for April 23-27, with the same guidelines as 2017. Electronic waste and tires will not be picked up curbside. However, electronic waste and up to eight tires will be accepted from Muscatine residents at the transfer station.
Councilwoman Nadine Brockert stated that she wanted to remind the citizens, especially of the Fourth Ward, that her monthly meeting will be taking place March 19 at 7 p.m. at the southern fire station.
“I just want to say that we lost a great man, and true friend, and a true servant to our community. He will dearly be missed,” Councilman Santos Saucedo stated, regarding the passing of Bob Bynum.
Brackett elaborated on his statement regarding the potential soapbox derby this year, stating that it is in the process of being planned for the Fourth of July. More information will be available soon.
Councilman Osmond Malcolm urged citizens to attend the meeting scheduled for March 22. The meeting will concern Mississippi Dr. Malcolm wants to hear the citizens’ viewpoints on this. That meeting will take place March 22 at 5:30 p.m.
“The way it’s being perceived now, it’s bad, and it’s going to get worse… so that’s what we want to prevent if it’s absolutely possible. That’s why I think it’s more important to have everybody come and tell us, good, bad or indifferent, their feelings and it can be weighed… using the best minds available to make the best possible decision looking into the future, to make it better for everybody,” Malcolm said.
Malcolm then brought forth concerns over the building located at 5th and Mulberry. His concerns are that the building can be hazardous to passerby and stated that precautions should be taken to prevent potential injury and litigation. Currently, the City does not own the property, but the process is underway for the City to take control of it. Mandsager explained that until the City owns the property, no action can be made. The sidewalk was previously blocked with plastic tape and cones; however, Brackett explained that people have walked through the tape and destroyed the blockage. He then stated that more substantial blocking is a good idea. The property currently has three parties working on proposals for it.
Harvey then reminded the councilmembers and citizens present of Bob Bynum’s upcoming visitation and funeral.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:57 p.m.