NICHOLS, Iowa–As the new year approaches, the City of Nichols used their December council meeting to prepare for several upcoming projects. They also swore in the mayor and council members for their next two-year term.
After several months of waiting, Nichols Police Chief Jeff Jirak announced that the new dashboard camera for his police car arrived and that he would soon have it up and running. He reported that while he has had the camera installed in the car, he cannot begin using it until he gets all of the software for it running correctly, which has proved somewhat challenging.
Following an update to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood maps, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources requested the City of Nichols to update their floodplain ordinance. Having such an ordinance and keeping it up to date allows the city and its residents to qualify for certain kinds of assistance in the event of a flood. The council unanimously approved updating the ordinance and will hold a public hearing on it at their January 2022 meeting.
In January 2022, the council will also set their budget for the upcoming fiscal year, starting with a special budget work session an hour before their usual 7 p.m. meeting on Jan. 12, 2022, at Nichols City Hall, located at 429 Ijem Avenue in Nichols. They will also use the January 2022 meeting as the time to hold their first hearing on levying the maximum amount of property tax for the upcoming fiscal year.
Though it will not happen until 2023, the Iowa Department of Transportation notified the City of Nichols that they will be replacing sidewalks on Highways 22 and 70. The Department of Transportation will pour five foot wide sidewalks with a cross slope of less than 2%, making them extremely accessible to all users. The Department of Transportation will make easements available to all property owners who have a driveway along either highway. Those who sign easements will have the end of their driveways replaced as well as the 10 feet of concrete directly behind it. Those who do not sign easements will only have the very ends of their driveways replaced. The council wished to make this information available to the public well in advance so they knew the Department of Transportation would make these changes in the not too distant future.
In other news, the Nichols Volunteer Fire Department applied for, but did not receive a grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The grant would have sped the process of purchasing additional gear for their brush truck.