The city council approved City Manager Bill Keefer’s new employment contract on Tuesday, May 1, and authorized a three percent raise.

The five council members met in executive session for about 30 minutes.

“We authorized the city attorney to draw up a new contract giving a one year extension,” said Mayor Ed Trumbull, after the meeting.

The three percent raise is dependent on the budgeting process, he said.

The council also authorized documents allowing the city to hold a special election to extend a current four-tenths of a cent sales tax. 

The proposed date for the special election is Aug. 28.

Extending the 20-year sales tax will help pay down the debt associated with the water and wastewater plant. The tax is paying the debt, also for future city needs, like roads, Keefer said.

The four-tenths of a percent sale tax is set to expire June 30, 2021.

The council approved the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce’s request to sell low-point beer at its summer festival “Toes in the Grand” by a 4-1 vote.

Grand River Dam Authority and Grove police will be on site to monitor any alcohol-associated problems, said Donnie Crain, chamber president.

“This is a family-friendly festival but we also have to make sure its financial sustainable and that was the big reason for the beer sales,” Crain said.

Crain said there would also be transportation for individuals who have too much alcohol.

“We want people to come here and enjoy themselves, but we also want people to be safe,” Crain said.

Crain said he wanted the beer sales to add to the festival, not take away from it.

Council member Marty Dyer, who cast the opposing vote, asked questions about the location of the beer tent.

Crain said the beer tent would not be in an area accessible to children.

The festival is set for June 1 and 2 at Wolf Creek Park.

The council awarded $4,500 in scholarship money to six Grove students from the Gary Dunham Memorial Scholarship program.

The recipients are: Bailey Fields, $1,000; Maydson Kraft, $1,000; Nicklaus O’Herin, $1,000; Easton Allred, $500; Kayla Dollarhide, $500 and Bethany Hinman, $500.

The scholarship program has awarded $25,000 since it was founded in 2010, Trumbull said.

The council approved a bid from Bernice Sanitation.

“They reduced the spring cleanup by $2,000 and the residential charges are the same,” said Assistant City Manager Debbie Bottoroff.

Trumbull also honored two lake events, National Travel and Tourism Week, May 6 to 12, and National Safe Boating Week, May 19 to 25.