• Roger Sims, Journal Staff

Parker council looks to reset storm warning siren

Updated: Oct 31

Parker Mayor Ashley Balthazor, left, presided over her first full-length city council meeting on Thursday, Oct. 13. The former council president, Balthazor automatically became mayor when former mayor Cody Adams resigned in August. Beside her is Kathy Harrison, city treasurer. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)

PARKER – The storm warning siren in Parker goes off every weekday like clockwork. The piercing wail can be heard for a radius of two miles or more in the surrounding countryside.

It serves as a reminder that it’s time for lunch, time to leave for work, or whatever a person needs to be doing at noon. Except since its controls were set to go off regularly several years ago, the timing device on the siren has slowed down.

It now sounds at 12:13 p.m., but it won’t be long until the timer has lost another minute and blaring starts at 14 minutes after the hour. Unless someone can figure out how to reset it.

The quirk of the delayed signal could be just one of the reasons that City Clerk Carrie Sewell told the Parker City Council on Thursday, Oct. 13, that she has received numerous complaints about the siren. But it is most likely the volume.

Councilwoman Jody Bloodgood suggested the controls could be reset to only sound once a week, perhaps on a Sunday, during storm season.

While the siren itself is located just north of the county fire station on Center Street, there was some confusion about where the controls are located. Chad Page, a maintenance contractor with the city, said that he knew where they were, but he indicated they were difficult to access.

City maintenance worker Rodney Hetzer said he would look further into resetting the siren.

Albert Kerr, former city maintenance worker, asked the council about the city’s commitment to install an additional culvert on South Walnut Street on the east side of the Methodist church. He said city officials agreed to install the additional culvert several years ago, but it was never done.

He said there is an existing culvert in front of the church, but it needed to be lengthened to accommodate hearses and and other vehicles that needd to park in front of the church’s entrance.

After consulting the past minutes, Mayor Ashley Balthazor said the city would make good on that commitment.

Kerr also made a pitch to mow around the edges of the city’s two sewage treatment lagoons. He said he could use a sickle bar mower to knock down the weeds and grass along the edges for $150. The council approved paying him to do the mowing.

Presiding over her first regular meeting since having the office fall to her in August, Balthazor discussed appointing a council president. Formerly the council president, she automatically became mayor when Cody Adams resigned the post on Aug. 11.

When none of the council members in attendance volunteered, there was discussion about appointing an absent council member, but the issue was tabled.

Balthazor also broached the subject of updating city codes. She noted that many of the codes were outdated.

Craig Haley, police chief and codes enforcement officer, suggested that because La Cygne’s codes were more up to date, the council could use that city’s codes as a starting point to speed up the process.

“It will take a few months to get it done,” Haley said, adding that he was already doing some work on it.

Balthzor noted that other cities in the county were taking action to tear down dilapidated structures and suggest Parker look at some of the methods they have used.

However, Bloodgood said that while she wasn’t necessarily opposed to helping people, she didn’t like the idea of paying to take care of problems that were the property owner’s responsibility.

Councilman Gary Earley asked about the former elementary school, a two-story building that has been vacant for about three decades.

Kerr said that new owners had recently acquired the property. He said they were in the process of cleaning out the building and planned to reroof the structure next spring.

Haley said there were a couple of structures in the city he considered dangerous.

In other business, the council:

  • Learned that the Linn County road department would donate 12 tons of cold patch asphalt to repair the intersection of county highway and South Street. However, the offer did not include labor or use of equipment to make the repair. Page suggested that they take the offer. “It wouldn’t take too much to make it better than it was.

  • Learned that for Haley to connect with the county sheriff’s Central Square online records system, it would cost more than $10,000. Haley told the council that the computer that had city records on it before he was employed had crashed and was discarded.

  • Voted to donate $800 for the Christmas event that will be held at Parker Elementary School.

  • Voted to sell the 200 gallon propane tank located north of the city hall building for $200.

  • Learned that KwiKom is in the process of installing fiber-optic cable from Greeley and has notified Parker residents that high speed Internet will soon be available.

  • Learned that the city had not received a bid on floor and wall repairs needed at the new city hall building, which had previously been the Parker Library, before offices could be moved in. Sewell said one contractor dropped by to look but did not submit a bid in time for the meeting.

  • Voted to give Hetzer permission to sell old playground equipment and an old compressor for scrap metal.

  • Learned that Page had cleared the dam at Parker City Lake of trees and had cut down the tree near the boat ramp that was unsafe.

  • Learned that Parker Methodist Church minister planned to donate 50 bags of fish food for the city lake.

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