Waukon City Council awards pair of contracts for flood repair projects

by Jason Meyer

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday night, January 18. First before the Council was the public comment portion of the meeting. As she did earlier in the day at the Allamakee County Board of Supervisors meeting, Ardie Kuhse, Business and Tourism Coordinator with Allamakee County Economic Development, presented the Councilors with information regarding this summer’s annual WMT Great Eastern Iowa Tractorcade to be hosted in the Waukon community June 12-15.
Waukon Police Chief Phil Young briefed the Council on the status of data recovery from his department’s now-defunct computer storage drive. Having gathered quotes from numerous recovery services, Chief Young stood by the option of sending the drive to the manufacturer, where the approximate cost of $3,200 will only be incurred if the data from the storage drive can be recovered.
Moving in to regular business, the Council heard from attorney Bill Shafer, who was representing local residents Roger and Jeanette Ruegnitz, regarding a submitted claim for sewer repair that was previously denied September 8, 2015. Shafer shared with the Council previously unknown information regarding the claim.
The Council was reminded that in 1991 the City of Waukon was granted an easement for the consideration of one dollar ($1.00) through the Ruegnitzes property to place and maintain a new water main. In doing so, the Ruegnitzes' water and sewer lines were cut to allow the placement of the new water main, and spliced back together following the placement. Shafer further shared that since 2004 the Ruegnitzes had experienced problems with their water and sewer service, and had been snaking the service lines at least once per year since then.
However, last fall the issue had resulted in a complete blockage, resulting in the lines being excavated and repaired at the Ruegnitzes expense. Since the repairs stemmed from the installation of a City water main, the couple sought reimbursement in the amount of $682.70 from the Council, the total amount of excavation and repairs.
The Council, not knowing the history of the issue at its September 8, 2015 meeting, had unanimously denied the claim for fear of setting precedent.
At this Monday’s meeting, however, Councilor Dwight Jones made the motion to approve the claim, citing the history of the issue and the ability to explain it as a unique situation, rather than a base for future claims against the City. The motion passed with support from all but one councilor, with the single dissenting vote coming from Councilor Don Steffens.
The Council awarded two contracts for flood repair projects on the recommendation of the Fehr Graham Engineering Firm. The first, for the Valley Trail repair in Waukon City Park, was awarded to Riehm Construction of Waukon in the amount of $46,749.95, which turned out to be 86 percent of the engineer’s estimate. One other bid of $57,954.92 was received from Skyline Construction of Decorah.
The second contract, for the dredging of Indian Springs Pond in Waukon City Park, was awarded to Hanson Construction of Waukon in the amount of $99,360.00 - $7,598.00 above the engineer’s estimate. Other bids submitted for the dredging project included the following: Burr Oak Springs of Ridgeway, $48,796.00; Skyline Construction of Decorah, $111,997.61; and Riehm Construction of Waukon, $224,813.50. Though Hanson was the second lowest bidder, the company received the engineer’s recommendation following an inquiry in to the low bidder’s past work performance with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
The Council also resolved to be the sponsoring governmental organization in support of the Waukon Parks, Recreation and Wellness Commission in a grant application to the Allamakee County Community Foundation on behalf of a Lion’s Club project to build a new concession and restroom structure near the Waukon City Park Ball Diamond. When completed, the structure would feature a concession area, handicapped accessible rest rooms, and a warming shelter for winter use.

In other business, the Council:

  • approved the switch of the City's insurance coverage to Bieber Insurance for the next three years, keeping in line with a six-year-old policy of rotation between Bieber Insurance and Leschensky Insurance.
  • approved three resolutions for the 2016 Street Improvement Project that keep the project moving forward and on schedule; including setting a Public Hearing for Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 6 p.m. The Notice to Property Owners affected by the project will be mailed out shortly.
  • authorized Waukon City Clerk Allen Lyon to acquire a debit card for City use in instances when a vendor will not accept a check as payment. The card will have no cash advance, and will be securely held when not in use.
  • approved the transfer of $7,372.92 from the General Fund to be disbursed as $5,529.69 to the Hotel/Motel (Park Improvements) Fund, and $1,843.23 to the Hotel/Motel (Tourism/Economic Development) Fund.
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