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(Ottumwa)—Plans to improve the façade of several buildings in the 300 block of East Main Street is one big step closer to reality following an announcement made at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

City Planner Mick Klemick told the city council a grant of 500-thousand dollars from the Iowa Economic Development Authority has received conditional approval.

The projected cost of the façade program is more than one million dollars. Other funding for the project will come from the city’s capital improvement program in the amount of 125-thousand dollars, 250-thousand dollars from the Ottumwa Legacy Foundation and another 125-thousand dollars from property owners

Also during last night’s meeting, under the consent agenda, the council approved a recommendation to increase the salary of Ottumwa Fire Chief Tony Miller. Miller has been Fire Chief since March of 2010.   A condition of his appointment to chief was that he pursue a college degree.  In May Miller received his Associate of Arts Degree and is in college to complete a four year degree. Based on this initial condition being met, the pay scale for this position needs to be adjusted from 60-thousand to 80-thousand dollars utilizing six steps.

Also during last night’s meeting, the council approved a pay increase of two percent for all collective bargaining employees.  The increase does not include several department heads.

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