The City of Grove will have a new sign, to welcome visitors.

The decision came during a meeting which lasted less than 30 minutes, on Tuesday, May 16, at the Grove Community Center.

During the meeting, council members voted to replace the storm damaged sign in front of the Grove Community Center with a new logo featuring a blue background with a pelican flying in the center.

The sign will cost $4,724 to replace with traditional fluorescent lamps, signage and digital graphics. The council voted unanimously to add an additional $1,200 to $1,500 to the cost, to upgrade the lighting to LED. 

City manager's contract

Council members approved amending City Manager Bill Keefer's employment contract, based upon actions taken during the May 2, executive session.

The changes in the agreement include a new contract year, effective June 1, 2017, for a three-year contract; a salary update to reflect a pay adjustment in July 2016 per the agreement. Keefer will also be eligible for a pay adjustment in July 2017, equal to the percentage of raises for other city employees.

Additionally, Keefer will see an increase in severance pay and health insurance benefits from nine months to 12 months. 

In approving the contract, Grove Mayor Ed Trumbull said the council chose to go from the schedule, which would have placed the severance at 10 months, to a full year, as a vote of confidence for Keefer's service.

Trumbull said he anticipates Keefer will remain the city manager for many years to come.

Cherokee Casino

During the meeting, city officials approved a request the city accept the easements on the north and south approaches of Sail Boat Bridge from the Grand River Dam Authority, for the installation and maintenance of water and sewer lines. 

The easements are needed because the water and sewer lines that serve the new casino pass through property owned by GRDA.

Rural Water District #10 is also a party to the easement on the north side of the bridge, because that group will assume ownership of the waterline at the meter and from that point north for ongoing maintenance. 

Sales Tax agreement

The council, in conjunction with the Grove Economic Development Authority, approved entering into a sales tax incentive agreement with Lori McPherson, owner of DarLynn Embroidery. 

The agreement, allows McPherson's business, which is now located within the downtown area, to receive a reimbursement of 50 percent of the net tax in excess of an average of three previous years worth of sales tax - or in this case $962.66, per year, or $240.66 per quarter.

GMSA amendment

Council members approved amending the 2014 policy between the city and Grove Municipal Services Authority allowing the owners of rental properties to receive a one-time $50 credit to their GMSA bill for installing a backflow prevention device. For those who are not GMSA customers, a one-time $50 reimbursement will be issued by the city.

Policy issues, budget

Council members approved amending the city's personnel policy add a temporary pay increase, for times when employees step in and perform supervisorial duties in the absence of a supervisor, due to an extended leave of absence - more than two consecutive weeks due to a situation other than normal vacation, sick, holiday or comp time.

Assistant City Manager Debbie Bottorff said the move was necessary in the event a staff member needs to fill in for a supervisor for long periods of time.   

The council also approved a resolution to the 2016-17 city general fund budget. The amendment appropriates sales tax incentive refunds, as well monies to purchase items for resale with the new Wolf Creek Park logo.

City treasurer Lisa Allred said city officials plan to purchase shirts and hats with the logo for resale.