COLUMBUS JUNCTION — A municipal historical committee to help spearhead the recognition and preservation of the community’s historic assets.

Columbus Junction Community Development Director Mallory Smith, who is a member of the Louisa County Historic Preservation Commission, outlined the idea to the city council on Wednesday, explaining the city had already taken preservation steps.

“We recently put in a grant application for the Chautauqua (Park) house — we have the museum at the old public library — and we have the upcoming sesquicentennial celebration in 5.25 years, or whatever it is,” she reminded the council with a laugh.

Smith suggested that establishing a local committee slanted toward historic preservation would help boost those activities in the same way that the city’s parks and recreation commission has enhanced those facilities and activities.

“We’ve been able to do a lot of stuff just from having (the parks and recreation commission),” she told the board.

Smith suggested an ad hoc committee of local residents could meet and present a more formal recommendation to the council. She also listed several community members and local officials who already have an interest in historic preservation and might be willing to serve on an organizing committee.

“Does that have to be an ordinance change?” council member Hal Prior asked.

Mayor Mark Huston said he did not believe that would be required and asked Smith to form the committee and return with a proposal.

“I think you’re going to find everybody is in favor, I would guess,” he said, adding action could be taken as soon as the council’s next meeting, if the committee is able to move that quickly.

In other action, the council approved a Sept. 26 public hearing to consider a proposed $16,745 amendment to the city’s fiscal year 2018-19 budget. According to the amendment summary, the revenue increase will not come from any increase in tax levies, but through other financing sources. The expenditures will cover library salary increases passed by the library board after the FY 19 budget was adopted by the city council.

The amendment would not affect the budget’s beginning balance of $315,427 or its ending balance of $359,643 since the current amendment’s revenue and expenditures would balance out.

Columbus Day organizer Aimee Buol also provided an update to the council on this year’s Columbus Day, scheduled for Oct. 13. In addition to listing activities and other events during the day, Buol asked the council to confirm the closing of North Main Street and the west parking lot under the Iowa 92 viaduct from midnight Friday to midnight Saturday.

The council approved both closings on a 4-0-1 vote. Council members Phil Kaalberg, Jason Payne, Prior and Best voted in favor, while Tracy Harris abstained.

Harris had questioned the closing of North Main for the entire day, explaining that could curtail traffic to the American Legion. Other council members, however, pointed out traffic still had two other routes available to reach the building and recalled the street had been closed during earlier events.

City librarian Mandy Grimm also reported to the council that the library’s annual report had been completed. She provided a summary sheet showing there had been 15,543 visits to the library last year, as well as other information.