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Verndale City News May 2018


by Marlo Benning

    Resident Erwin Barney attended the May city council meeting and said he was surprised when he found out that the city hoped to put the new water tower next to his property.

    “I understand the position you are in, you have to make decisions to affect the entire community. People are good at grumbling, and I’m not going to be one of those. I saw county trucks in the yard next to me when I woke up the other day. I found out you are talking about putting a water tower in the yard next to me. I’m trying to wrap my head around this at this point,” Barney said. 

    He said he didn’t mean to be uppity, but as he understood it, if he wanted to build a fence or other structure along his neighbor’s property, he’d have to apply for a variance.

    “Residents would have to be made aware. I’m not saying I’m totally opposed to it,” he said. 

    He said he has been weighing the pros and cons.

    Mayor Ludovissie explained that they need to find a place for the tower and that this would allow for a nasty looking home on that property to come down. It is a county forfeited piece of land so it would also save the city money in purchasing land if the county gave it to them.

    He said that it needs to be on the south side of town because of the school. 

    “This is the third option we’ve come down to,” said Ludovissie. 

    “Maybe we should have given you guys a heads up,” he said.     

    “It’s a small town, we’re supposed to be neighbors and friends and look out for one another,” Barney said, noting that he felt they should have been notified.  

    “We’re kind of at a time crunch because one of the wells has failed,” said Ludovissie. 

    He apologized on behalf of the council for not letting the neighbors know. 

    “Our intentions were not trying to sneak anything through,” said Member Jim Ackerson.

    The council agreed to hold a public hearing to inform the neighbors of what the project would entail. It will be held on Tuesday, May 22 at 5 p.m. at city hall.

    The discussion ended on a humorous noted when Barney said with a chuckle, “I think you should give me free water for life!”

    —According to Clerk Barbara Holmes, the city had not yet received a resolution from the county about the property, located at 19 3rd Ave SE, in order to review at the meeting. She said that they had told them it was a “go”, so the city could survey and get the geo technical work completed. . . .

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