VINTON – Vinton council members took the first step to changing the boundaries for the city’s four wards in preparations of future elections.

At November’s first council meeting, Melissa Schwan, Vinton city clerk, explained that a change by the State of Iowa made it necessary for Vinton and other communities in the state to review precinct /ward boundaries and make any necessary changes.

Monday’s consideration of an ordinance would amend the city’s current boundaries, so that each of the four wards would have a similar headcount based on the population reported in the last census.

Schwan and Chris Ward, Vinton city coordinator, pointed out that ordinance identified the boundary from east to west in the community as the railroad tracks.

“We realized that citizens are not able to drive from east to west in the community on 7th Street, because the street doesn’t go all the way through town,” Ward explained. So the pair were recommending the wording of railroad tracks to identify the boundary.

With the railroad tracks dividing the community from north to south, the boundary between Ward 1 and Ward will be 2nd Avenue and for Ward 3 and 4 that line will be 1st Avenue.

The redistricting does not affect a large portion of the citizens, “however, there are some residences that weren’t identified before that are now,” Ward said during the meeting.

Headcount in each of the four wards is: Ward 1 – 1265; Ward 2 – 1232; Ward 3 – 1219 and Ward 4 – 1222.

Monday’s action was just the first of three readings for the ordinance amendment.

Schwan explained before the ordinance can actually be passed the council would need to hold a public hearing and the proposed redistricting would need to be reviewed by the Benton County Auditor’s office. The complete process should be completed by the end of the year as long as there are no issues.

“Once this is completed, will we be sending any notices out to residents to let them know of the boundary change,” Bud Maynard, Vinton mayor, asked Schwan.

She assured Maynard and council members that residents would be notified of the boundary change once the process was completed.

In other business:

-Greg Walston, ISU Extension, spoke during citizen’s input to thank council members and city of Vinton for use of some of the garden beds at the 3rd on 3rd plots.

“With your generosity, ISU Extension and the Old School Produce used 15 beds at that location and were able to raise 150 pounds of potatoes and 30 pounds of tomatoes,” he said. This produce, along with that grown at the Old School Produce site located along W8th Street, totaled 1200 pounds “which was donated to the nine food pantries here in Benton County,” Walston said.

“I would like to thank the city for being a contributing partner in this endeavor,” he added.

Walston also thanked the city for allowing the garden plots to be moved to the 3rd on 3rd location.

“Brian (Parr) was right when he said that this location would be much better for us than when it was located on Q Avenue,” Walston said. “This is a great spot for us and again we really appreciate your generosity.

“We were lucky this year that there were some empty beds and when I called down to Chris (Ward) we were able to use them. Not everyone is a gardener so there are spaces available each year,” Walston concluded.

The council thanked Walston & the other volunteers for all the hard work put in over the summer to make the program a success.

-Kevin Schlarbaum, Mt. Auburn, visited with the council during Monday’s meeting to provide an update on next summer’s Rockfest.

“Some things have changed since we were here earlier in this month,” he said.

Originally, JJ Productions had planned to bring Hairball to the community for a performance on 4th Street in the downtown area.

“They (Hairball) will be performing later in the year in Cedar Rapids and there were concerns in regard to attendance with the two events so close together,” Schlarbaum told the council.

“So that concert is going to be scheduled to happen in 2023 and next summer we will have The Pork Tornadoes performing downtown, if we get your blessing,” he added.

The concert date is July 9 and will be held at the intersection of A Avenue and 4th Street.

“Most of the businesses downtown close around noon on Saturdays,” he said. “We’d like to have a portion of the intersection closed off in the morning so we can start with the stage set up,” Schlarbaum stated.

Andrew Elwick, council member, asked if the downtown businesses had been spoken to regarding the concert.

“Not yet we haven’t,” Schlarbaum explained. “I wanted to get your approval before we took that step.

“We want this to be a success and continue having concerts downtown, so we’ll be happy to work with local businesses,” he added.

“I love the idea of having a concert like this downtown,” Tami Stark, council member, said.

Fellow councilman Ron Hessenius agreed. “I think this is a great idea.”

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