Downtown plaza, Police Department personnel matters among many items discussed by Waukon City Council; Police Department urges public to claim their bicycles or they may be auctioned off

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday, August 6 to address a full agenda of items including the Plaza Art Project, a modification to Police employment contracts and the 2019 Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) street and sidewalk project. There was no Public Comment.

Under Departmental Reports, Assistant Police Chief Paul Wagner advised that a large number of unclaimed bicycles are stored at the Waukon Police Station. The council agreed that a final attempt should be made to locate owners and if unclaimed a sale or auction would be an option.

Street Superintendent Keith Burrett discussed that new street signs have been going up and that three City parking lots have been resurfaced with some minor touch-up and painting to be accomplished soon.

Water and Sewer Superintendent Jim Cooper discussed recent bacteria test results and that during the time gap between his start date and the retirement of his predecessor, a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reporting violation occurred. Cooper discussed his employment contract and that he wishes to continue his work as a CNA at Veterans Memorial Hospital on a limited basis working occasionally on weekends. The council agreed to add the matter to the next meeting agenda.

Park and Rec Wellness Director Jeremy Strub indicated that the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus was well attended during Waukon Corn Days this past Friday. Strub indicated that Wednesday, August 22 is the last day scheduled for the swimming pool to be open due to the school year starting and that fall activities will be starting in a few weeks.

City Manager Dean Hilgerson discussed that the plans for the new wastewater treatment facility are 60% complete and have been submitted to the DNR. Hilgerson indicated that the plans will be 90% complete by September and that the bid letting date will be in December.

Under Regular Business, the Resolution for the Appointment of the new City Clerk was approved. New City Clerk Lana Snitker and retiring City Clerk Allen Lyon were both in attendance during the meeting.

The council discussed the request from Janine Wirth to hang a light over the sidewalk in front of her store. The request was approved with the stipulations that it will be placed under the awning and must agree with city code and height requirements.

Burrett discussed a request for a new furnace for the Street Department shop with three bids received. Burrett indicated the lowest bid received was $3,826.53, which was approved by the council with council member Arvid Hatlan recommending radiant heat should be considered when a new Street Department shop is planned in the future.

The council moved into discussion of the tuck-pointing quotes received for City Hall. Hilgerson indicated that three quotes were received with the low bidder agreeing to honor the quote next year for work on the sides of City Hall, if only the front of the building is tuck-pointed this year. The council approved the low bid with the front of the building to be worked on this year.

The 2019 Department of Transportation (DOT) street and sidewalk project was discussed with the council reviewing various options for the crosswalk near Gus & Tony’s and ultimately approving to leave the crosswalk the same with the existing sidewalk and parking. Hilgerson provided a recommendation that the transformer for future City project electricity needs be placed at the Spring Avenue location near the Waukon Greenhouse. The council was in agreement that the median with trees on Spring Avenue will be converted to sidewalk.

Sales Representative Ronald Feigl of Holophane Lighting provided an overview of the light poles offered by his company including height options and lighting fixture designs. Feigl had a small section of a light pole on display during his presentation with associated hardware for banners and flags. Council member Gayle Decker indicated that similar light poles by Holophane are being used in the Waukon City Park. The council approved to move forward with the Holophane style of light pole.

Cooper discussed projects to be completed prior to the 2019 DOT Street Project including manhole covers and fire hydrants. The council agreed to handle these projects internally with assistance from Blake Excavating.

Coordinator Ardie Kuhse with Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) provided an overview of the options available concerning the Plaza Art Project. Kuhse provided a recommendation to keep both the art project and WEDC’s LED sign in the Plaza. Kuhse stated that the artist has agreed to work with the City and WEDC with this change of plan. Other options discussed but not recommended by Kuhse include starting the planning process over and the return of grant funding. The council approved to move forward with the option recommended by Kuhse with both the art project and LED sign to be included in the Plaza.

Kuhse and the council discussed the representation of the City Council, WEDC, the artist, public and other entities on the Plaza Design Committee. The council approved to move forward with the Plaza Design Committee.

Senior Project Manager Lyle TeKippe of Fehr-Graham Engineering provided an overview of the Supplemental Professional Agreement for the Green Valley Bridge Project. The council approved to pay the City’s share of the engineering costs.

The council discussed mowing and the weeds within and around the northwest detention basin. Stone recommended using hay in the detention basin. Hilgerson recommended mowing the perimeter and using something to kill noxious weeds with the goal of allowing grass to grow in the detention basin. The council was in agreement to move forward with Hilgerson’s recommendation. No action was taken with this being a routine maintenance issue.

Ross Evelsizer, Watershed Planner with Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), provided an overview of potential water quality projects that the City of Waukon might consider and include in the State Revolving Fund (SRF) application and discussed other documentation necessary in the application process. The council approved to move forward with the recommended water quality projects.

The  council discussed the Waukon Police Department vacancy. Council member John Ellingson recommended that a letter with conditions of employment be included with the employment contract. The council approved to hire Ed Schoenthal for the Police Department vacancy at the Union contract wage with a start date of August 20.

The council approved the reappointment of Stefanie Perkins to the Park, Recreation and Wellness Board with a term expiring July 20, 2021. The resolution to sell property in the West Side Development was also approved.

Hilgerson further discussed the preliminary plans for the new wastewater treatment facility, a matter he had also addressed during his City Manager’s Report earlier in the meeting.

The resolution for release of mortgage for Marlin Pausch was approved. The council discussed that Pausch had met the requirements of this program allowing the release of the mortgage.

The council moved into discussion of the Police employment contract. City Attorney Jim Garrett indicated that the contract for a newly certified officer involves the agreement to repay Police Academy fees on a sliding scale based upon length of employment before resignation. Garrett indicated that Officer Devon Baumgartner was presented this agreement late and that a meeting has taken place with the Union Steward regarding this matter. Garrett indicated that current contracts specify repayment of Police Academy expense based upon completion of training, not employment start date. Garrett indicated that a modified contract with repayment based upon employment start date will be presented to Baumgartner and will be used for new officers moving forward. Baumgartner was in attendance and stated that he will have his attorney review the modified contract. The council approved the modified contract.

Wagner discussed the Special Traffic Enforcement Program (SteP), with unused funds being available. Wagner recommended the purchase of a car camera which will be held back for use in a new squad car. The council approved the purchase of a new car camera for the Waukon Police Department.

The policy for the transfer of compensatory time and vacation time was discussed by Garrett, who indicated that the Union has given approval. The council also approved the policy.

The resolution releasing interest in the demolition cost reserve for fire damaged property was approved in regard to the Mulligans Grill Pub property. The Second Reading of the Sidewalk Ordinance amending the Code of Ordinances of the City of Waukon, Iowa 1998 by modifying the required specifications for sidewalk construction, reconstruction and repair was approved.

The Third and Final Reading of the Ordinance amending the Code of Ordinances by increasing water utility rates and imposing an infrastructure fee was approved. The resolution for the Official Financial Report for City Streets and Parking for the City of Waukon for July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018 was also approved.

The resolution authorizing the Waukon Mayor and City Clerk to release Home Ownership Assistance Program and Owner Occupied Housing Rehabilitation Program Mortgages was approved.

The council approved to write-off two delinquent water bills that have been in collections and are beyond the statute of limitations.

The council then moved into closed session for discussion of a property acquisition prior to adjournment.


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