The Polk City Council meeting kicked off this week with an introduction of the new Polk City Chamber staff employee, Sheila Mahan.

“So far, Sheila’s been hired to perform Chamber duties on a part- time basis and has really made a difference in increased memberships, better planning and coordination,” Polk City Chamber and Economic Development representative John Calhoun said.

Calhoun continued his presentation with an update regarding the opening of the joint Polk City Chamber and Economic Development office. This office is located at 212 Van Dorn St. in Polk City and aids in providing communication between the Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Corporation and the businesses and citizens of Polk City.

“I think that’s been a positive thing even though we don’t have someone there eight hours a day. It’s also provided a place to have a meeting room so that we can meet with businesses on a private basis,” Calhoun said.

In addition to sharing office space, the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corporation have also worked together in order to standardize their financial documentation, board meeting agendas and processes. This means that they will share the same format in budgeting, reporting and accounting.

Calhoun also addressed the layout of events for the upcoming year. These included, but are not limited to, the Adult Prom (where the announcement of the citizen of the year and businessperson of the year award will take place), the Sounds on the Square, Bikes and Brews and Monster Dash to name a few.

“All the things that are going on in the square. That’s something we’ve always shot for in Polk City and it’s something that’s been talked about. Going back probably even more than ten years ago, we talked about those things and tried to get them going. It’s nice to see them happening. I know that people in Polk City love the square and love to see it used,” Councilman Ron Anderson said.

“One other thing to add to his comment regarding the events on the square that I think’s important to note —part of the other reason we were able to do it is because of people who volunteer their time to help put those events on. Because although we get Public Works to help set them up and the Police Department to help make sure we don’t have problems, it requires the volunteers to come out and work them. And, we’ve got a lot more people that are now willing to step up and volunteer to help do these events. And, I think that needs to be mentioned as well,” Polk City Mayor Morse added.

The council then heard a presentation from Ken Morse of the Polk City Arbor League regarding the Tree City USA. The city of Polk City has been a Tree City USA for 24 years. For 22 out of those 24 years, the city has also received the Tree City USA Growth Award.

“The Polk City Arbor League continues to do tree maintenance on all of our past planting projects. The Arbor League is currently working with the school on the new plantings in conjunction with the addition up there. And, the Arbor League is continuing to make improvements at West Side Drive Park, Polk City’s most unique park, which is behind the elementary school,” Morse said.

The Polk City Arbor League continues to get support from the MidAmerican Energy “Trees Please!” Program which acts as their major source of funding.

The council concluded the meeting with the unanimous approval for ordering construction for certain public improvements, fixing dates for public hearings, and taking bids for the Polk City Police Station remodel project. The council also unanimously approved the agreement between the city of Polk City and the North Polk Community School District for the use of buses and drivers for the Polk City Summer Parks and Recreation program.