Waukon City Council discusses street and other projects among variety of agenda items during regular session

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday, June 4 to address a full agenda of items including the Wellmark Healthy Hometown Walking Audit, a recommendation to fill a vacancy in the Waukon Police Department and a request to sell fireworks within city limits.

Mayor Pat Stone called the meeting to order with council member Ben Rausch requesting the addition of an agenda item involving the SolSmart solar energy program. There was no Public Comment.

During Departmental Reports, Water and Sewer Superintendent Bob Campbell discussed a sewer repair on Seventh Avenue SE and that the storm sewer flow study is continuing with flow meters being moved to the northwest section of Waukon.

Park and Rec Wellness Director Jeremy Strub indicated the Waukon City Park’s amphitheater project has begun and clarified that it is a 100% donor-driven project supported by private donations. Strub discussed the possible purchase of a UTV/ATV to assist with maintenance projects and transporting personnel at the City Park, and also said and the Park and Rec programs are off to a good start.

City Manager Dean Hilgerson discussed moving forward with the Police Station project by requesting proposals from architects and contractors. Hilgerson indicated that interviews have been ongoing and that a recent meeting with a company handling wastewater treatment equipment went well. He briefly discussed some networking and professional development opportunities.

Under Regular Business, Lee Hinkel of 406 Fifth Street SW discussed a high utility bill caused by a leaky toilet. With quarterly billing and quarterly reading of the water meter, Hinkel indicated the issue was not caught quickly, resulting in a $760 water bill. The council indicated that, according to policy, the utility bill would not be forgiven or decreased, but approved a three-month payment plan without any penalty.

City Clerk Allen Lyon discussed the request from Bellino Enterprises, LTD of Papillion, NE seeking permission to sell fireworks at 777 Eleventh Avenue SW on the Fareway property. Lyon indicated that documentation including a copy of their state license and proof of a bond on file with the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office have not yet been received and are necessary to issue a transient merchant permit. The council took no action, tabling the matter until its next meeting.

Brooke Troendle of the Walk-On Waukon committee, a group seeking to improve and expand upon the sidewalk and walking trails within Waukon, discussed the Wellmark Healthy Hometown Walking Audit which will take place July 20, 2018 at the ISU Allamakee County Extension Office in Waukon and will be beneficial in qualifying for Wellmark grants in the future. Troendle indicated that individuals associated with city government, the school district, local businesses and industries, local health and wellness groups and residents are invited to be part of the meeting and walk. Troendle requested that those attending contact her by email to RSVP.

Jane McCormick, also a member of the Walk-On Waukon committee, discussed her involvement with the Iowa Walking College program, an educational program through the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative involving workshops, webinars and learning objectives.

The variance request by Leo and Joann Folsom at 423 and 429 Ninth Street SW to allow a driveway easement to access both a residence and a business was approved. The variance request by Annette Hansmeier at 808 Second Avenue SW to allow six feet to the side yard setback was approved. Hansmeier is constructing a new garage on the foundation of an old garage that has been torn down.

The public hearing date for the rezoning from “B-2” to “R-3” at 209 West Street was approved for July 2. Lyon indicated the property owned by Debra Connor was formerly a bed and breakfast establishment and now is used as a residence.

The council discussed the 2019 Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) Street Project and projects to be completed prior to resurfacing. A property owner in attendance, refusing to provide her name for the record, discussed concerns related to the planned removal of trees from various sidewalk and boulevard areas, indicating that the loss of greenery in the downtown area will not look good. Hilgerson agreed to provide DOT contact information to the property owner and council member Gayle Decker recommended that the Trees Forever Committee could be contacted for further information on future tree planting plans.

Senior Project Manager Lyle TeKippe with Fehr-Graham Engineering discussed the First Avenue NW core samples indicating that for five blocks, two core samples were taken per block to aid in determining how much milling will be necessary before resurfacing. TeKippe provided an overview of the milling and resurfacing process and advised that replacement of curb and gutter may be necessary on some blocks. The council approved to move forward with design cost estimates for First Avenue NW street repair and the professional services agreement.

Hilgerson and Street Superintendent Keith Burrett discussed the street sign replacement program. The council approved to have Burrett move forward with replacing street signs all at once rather than in phases.

Waukon Police Chief Phil Young discussed the Police Department vacancy, providing a recommendation to hire Alex Hertges at the non-certified pay rate of $16.85 per hour, which was approved by the council.

Hilgerson and Burrett discussed temporary repairs and maintenance options through 2020 for City parking lots. Burrett presented bids received for the parking lot repairs with the council approving the low bid of $11,575 from Driveway Specialists of Decorah.

The council moved into discussion of downtown street lighting with Hilgerson discussing the option to reset the current lighting, which would involve 46 light poles. Hilgerson also discussed the concrete bases which would elevate the light poles, helping to prevent corrosion.

City Attorney James Garrett discussed lawn mowing and nuisance abatement. The council discussed the $200 per hour and one-hour minimum charged in these cases where a City employee mows a property owner’s lawn or weeds averaging six or more inches in length. The council discussed that the ordinance will serve as notice to the property owner, streamlining the process and eliminating warnings or contact by phone.

Hilgerson discussed Planning and Zoning vacancies and Board of Adjustment vacancies, introducing the idea of allowing individuals to serve on both boards. Garrett agreed to research the matter and provide a recommendation.

Campbell discussed issues relating to the reduction of wastewater testing and WW Homestead Dairy wastewater testing requirements and the testing required to meet the compliance schedule with the new wastewater treatment facility. The council approved to add two handicapped parking spots in the 100 block of Fifth Street SW near St. John’s Church.

Young discussed issues with traffic flow due to parking on both sides of the street on Eighth Street NW. Garrett will be developing an ordinance restricting parking to one side for the 300 block of Eighth Street NW.

The second reading of the Ordinance amending the Code of Ordinances to permit leaves to be deposited on public streets at designated times was approved with the third reading waived and adoption approved by the council. Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker provided an overview of the Comprehensive Hazard Mitigation Plan. The council approved adoption of the plan.

Hilgerson addressed the Water Superintendent position agenda item indicating that the Personnel Committee has been conducting interviews. Hilgerson suggested that the council should entertain a presentation from People Service, Inc., a provider of water and wastewater professionals and services. The council approved to entertain a presentation from People Service Inc.

Hilgerson provided a recommendation to modify the job title of Anna Hoins to include Assistant Zoning Administrator with a $2 per hour increase, which the council approved. Campbell and Hilgerson also discussed options related to land acquisition and the property access for the new wastewater treatment facility.

Rausch discussed the SolSmart solar energy program which helps with the feasibility of solar arrays for communities and provides additional benefits including energy audits. The council approved to have the mayor sign a letter, which does not include any financial obligation.

Under Other Matters, Rausch discussed some concerns raised by a resident regarding silt and run-off entering the City Park’s pond. He also provided an update on the broadband internet committee.

Hilgerson indicated that the Personnel Committee will begin review of the City Clerk applications. Burrett discussed that security cameras have been installed at the City’s compost site due to the dumping of deer carcasses and unauthorized items.


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