Variety of Police Department matters among even wider variety of items discussed by Waukon City Council

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Tuesday, September 4 following the Labor Day holiday that falls on the council’s typical Monday meeting day. Matters discussed include the Waukon Police Department’s anti-drug and canine program, appointments to the Planning and Zoning Commission and a request for a contribution from the City toward the Walk-On Waukon group’s Wellmark grant application.

The Public Hearing proposing the disposition of interest in real property by the City of Waukon - West Side Development Lot 7 was opened and closed without verbal or written comment. There was no Public Comment.

Under Departmental Reports, Police Chief Phil Young discussed that two job interviews have been set up for later in the month. Street Superintendent Keith Burrett indicated that 25 truck route signs within Waukon are in need of replacement due to age and damage.

Burrett discussed the request to use some of the City’s snow fence for a corn maze fundraiser, with the council showing support for the project and agreeing to loan the snow fence.

Water and Sewer Superintendent Jim Cooper discussed equipment repairs, some potential water main extensions for future industry and housing development needs, and that he is getting pricing for a replacement generator and a camera system for viewing the storm sewer. Park and Rec Program Director Kim Kraus discussed fall activities including volleyball and flag football, and that the dog swimming event is coming up September 16 at the swimming pool.

City Manager Dean Hilgerson indicated that the water quality application has been filed through the State Revolving Loan Fund (SRF) with the potential of over $800,000 in project funding. Hilgerson discussed that the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting took place recently and that a draft of an ordinance allowing chickens to be raised within city limits will be forthcoming for the council to consider in October.

Hilgerson also discussed the audit scheduled for September 17 and that City departments are all moving forward with employee evaluations as a tool for professional growth and communication regarding job performance. Hilgerson indicated that the placement of the transformer for street lights and the traffic signal would not be ideal in the Plaza due to the delay on that project, but may be better suited for placement on West Street in the north end of the parking lot.

Under Regular Business, the council individually reviewed and approved three resolutions including the Resolution for the disposition of interest by the City of Waukon - West Side Development Lot 7, Resolution for the contract and performance and payment bonds for the 2018 First Avenue NW resurfacing project and the Resolution agreeing to the transfer of $22,384.24 from Road Use Tax Fund to the Debt Service Fund for the principal/interest payment due October 1 on the Caterpillar Wheel Loader Lease from Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation.

The Council moved into discussion of an appointment to the Regional Housing Board with former council member Steve Wiedner’s term having expired without a request for reappointment. Following discussion, council member Gayle Decker agreed to serve on this board.

Mayor Pat Stone addressed the next agenda item involving two appointments to the Planning and Zoning Commission, indicating that Jason Fish and Keith Bakkum have both agreed to serve in this capacity for terms expiring September 21, 2023, which the Council then approved.

Brooke Troendle discussed the request for a City contribution to the Walk-On Waukon group’s efforts and the date and time for a presentation of recommendations from Wellmark. Troendle advised that $2,500 could be contributed by Walk-On Waukon and requested that the City consider a contribution of $10,000, allowing the City to receive the $25,000 Wellmark grant as a 2:1 match. Troendle indicated that project would need to be completed during the 2019 construction calendar. The council discussed the project, approving to make $12,500 of matching funds available for the $25,000 grant application for the 2019 sidewalk project.

Troendle also discussed the public meeting scheduled for September 14 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at the 4-H Extension office meeting room and the council’s request for a presentation of recommendations from Wellmark. Troendle indicated that Wellmark Healthy Hometown has provided a recommendation for a group of residents and council members involved in the public meeting to meet immediately afterwards to narrow down the options to be presented later at the city council meeting September 17. The Council approved to not have a special meeting and the presentation from Wellmark prior to the September 17 City Council meeting, allowing to move forward with Wellmark’s recommendation.

Hilgerson provided some background information regarding the next agenda item, explaining that he has received several complaints regarding the street bump on the 900 block of West Main Street. Burrett indicated that a bump in the street near the Huba Huba Convenience Store needs to be addressed and will likely require a four-foot section of pavement for the full width of the street to be cut out. Burrett indicated that the cement below the blacktop surface is likely causing this upheaval. The Council agreed that Burrett should move forward with this street repair project.

Burrett discussed the dura-patch machine used for pothole repairs is requiring repair or replacement, with the council opting to choose repair and approving the bid from Starr Equipment for $8,694.60.

The council moved into discussion of the tuck-pointing of City Hall, a project that had been previously approved with the front of the building to be completed this year. The council discussed the project with the consensus being that Zach Moyle Masonry has done a good job and that the project should continue while the contractor is on-site with the other sides of the building to be completed as well. The council approved to continue the project.

Account Manager Craig Clefisch and Operations Manager Dustin Mohs, both with Alliant Energy, discussed Alliant Energy’s city-wide billing. Temperatures in June were discussed as reasons for higher energy bills in comparison to previous summers. Council member John Ellingson encouraged Clefisch and Mohs to provide several years of records showing his household’s energy consumption to help illustrate kilowatt per hour usage at a future meeting.

Ellingson discussed that he has been working with Assistant Police Chief Paul Wagner regarding the Waukon Police Department’s anti-drug and canine program. Ellingson discussed the importance of anti-drug education and public relations with the canine program being a valuable component of enforcement and education in the community. Ellingson indicated that he would like to see a committee established with a program proposal to be made later in the fiscal year.

Young discussed the Police vehicle purchase request and provided some background on the Waukon Police Department’s current fleet of vehicles including mileage and condition. Young discussed the bids received and recommended the Ford Interceptor over other options based on price and law enforcement related options available from the factory. The council accepted the bid for the Ford Interceptor at $29,515.00 with an equipment package of $11,258.61 for a total of $40,773.61.

The academy contract and reimbursement for Waukon Police Officer Luke Inglett was discussed by the council, with Wagner explaining that this was proposed as a way to retain an officer with the Waukon Police Department. Wagner explained that Officer Inglett would be locked into a four-year contract with the police academy tuition cost being bought out from the Lansing Police Department, where Inglett previously served. The council discussed the benefit of retaining this officer with the contract buyout of $7,046.69 versus the police academy cost of over $12,000 likely involved with a new hire. The council approved the contract buyout with a four-year contract commitment with the City.

The Council moved into discussion of the Police Department auction of bicycles and other miscellaneous items. Young and Wagner discussed that over 30 bicycles will be auctioned Saturday, September 22 at 3 p.m. and proposed that the council may consider adding other items to the auction including a generator and previously used squad car cages. The council approved the Police Department to get rid of bicycles and miscellaneous items by auction.

The 2019 Street and Sidewalk Project was discussed by the Council including downtown parking, the project agreement, the Spring Avenue crossing and the Fifth Street crossing.

The Council also discussed a compensation request involving supplemental pay for a Water and Sewer Department employee. Hilgerson indicated that he requested to have a Water and Sewer Department employee answer the cell phone during the time following the retirement of former Water and Sewer Superintendent Bob Campbell and before his successor, Jim Cooper, was hired and working for the city. Hilgerson discussed that one employee volunteered and assisted with answering the department cell phone during this time. Water and Sewer Department employee Mark Benda was present and explained the supplemental income request due to the extra time involved in answering cell phone calls in the absence of a department head. The council discussed the need to have Assistant Department Heads or Supervisors during the absence of a Department Head and that each department should establish an on-call policy.

The Council moved into discussion of compensation for the City Manager, with a three-percent raise as an option discussed. The City Manager’s need for a City vehicle during the new wastewater treatment facility construction was discussed, with a former Police Department vehicle mentioned as a possibility. The council agreed that an employee evaluation would need to be completed prior to any decision regarding compensation. The council approved to create an evaluation form in compliance with the City Manager’s employment contract.

Under Other Matters, the council and City Manager discussed the progress Aveka has made and continued improvements discussed in conversations with General Manager John Anderson. Hilgerson and Coordinator Ardie Kuhse of Waukon Economic Development (WEDC) provided an update about the Plaza Committee. Hilgerson raised concerns that a decision needs to be made regarding the former Tierney building in order to make final decisions about the Plaza project. Stone discussed feedback received from business owners in favor of decorative street lighting.

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