Once quorum arrives, Waukon City Council hears positive report from fiscal year audit, discusses projects

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday, March 18 to address a full agenda of items including the Audit Report for Fiscal-Year Ending June 30, 2018, discussion of the Storm Sewer Inflow and Infiltration Investigation Report and an update from the Walk-On Waukon group.

At the 7 p.m. posted start time for the meeting, the council meeting could not be officially called to order with only council member Gayle Decker in attendance, along with Mayor Pat Stone, City Clerk Lana Snitker, City Attorney Jim Garrett and City Manager Dean Hilgerson also in attendance. While waiting for a quorum of council members - the necessary number of members required to conduct the official business of the council - Stone opened Public Comment.

Coordinator Ardie Kuhse with Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) discussed the announcement made earlier in the day that Shopko would be closing its remaining retail stores, including the Waukon retail location, by June of this year. Kuhse discussed the work being done by Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) in assisting current Shopko employees with services available, including employment searches and retraining programs. Kuhse discussed the impact of the Shopko loss, which will affect residents, visitors and the business community, with work to be done in finding another retailer or business for this location.

Moving into Departmental Reports, Police Chief Phil Young briefly discussed the St. Patrick’s Day holiday and parade. Street Superintendent Keith Burrett indicated that the first frost boil was found over the weekend, and he also discussed a variety of other pavement repair projects to be addressed.

Water and Sewer Superintendent Jim Cooper discussed boiler repair work completed at the wastewater treatment plant and that a power outage over the weekend had minimal impact on wastewater facilities with the use of generators. Park and Rec Wellness Director Jeremy Strub indicated that the tree removal process in the City Park has gone well as of late with a few stumps yet to be removed. Strub also provided an update on the U.S. Tennis Association grant and the tennis court project.

Hilgerson indicated that a budget amendment may be necessary for the current fiscal year and provided a brief update on the ongoing tree removal process in preparation for the 2019 Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) Street and Sidewalk Project along West Main and Allamakee Streets. He advised that a pre-construction meeting is scheduled for later in the week in New Hampton on that project that will improve Highways 9 and 76 entering and through Waukon.

Hilgerson also advised that the new Wastewater Treatment Plant pre-construction meeting has been scheduled for April 3. He further discussed the Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) meeting held last week and the committee involved with the grant writing process involving the City.

During Departmental Reports, council members John Lydon and John Ellingson arrived, allowing the meeting to be officially called to order by Stone. Council member Arvid Hatlan also arrived before the completion of Departmental Reports.

With a quorum now in place, the council moved into Regular Business with the approval of the Resolution agreeing to transfer the total of $10,935.62 from the General Fund to the Hotel/Motel (Park Improvements) Fund and Hotel/Motel (Tourism/Economic Development) Fund. The council also approved the Resolution declaring necessity and providing for notice of hearing on the proposed amended revitalization plan in regard to the five-year tax exemption for new residential construction in Waukon previously approved by the council.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Neil Schraeder with Hacker, Nelson and Co., P.C. provided an overview of the Audit Report for Fiscal-Year Ending June 30, 2018. Schraeder discussed various financial highlights and commented on the good cooperation from City Clerk Snitker and other City employees during the audit process. Schraeder indicated that the council has done well in providing oversight of the City’s finances. The council accepted the Audit Report as presented.

Project Engineer Lucas Elsbernd with Fehr Graham Engineering provided recommendations relating to the Inflow and Infiltration Investigation Report which illustrates sections of Waukon where storm sewer repair or replacement may be advisable. Elsbernd discussed areas showing increased water flow readings following rainfall, which are areas where storm sewer repair or replacement should be investigated. As part of this discussion, Cooper and the council discussed the use and potential purchase of a sewer camera system to assist in investigating areas in need of repair. Cooper agreed to research costs and options relating to a sewer camera system.

Brooke Troendle with Walk-On Waukon provided an update on the group’s fundraising efforts and grant deadlines. Troendle and the council discussed a potential sidewalk project that would connect the Waukon City Park to the locations of Dollar General, Fareway and Floors Plus. Council members were in agreement that this would be good starting point and be of benefit to all within the community. The council and Garrett discussed putting the project out to bid, with that matter to be added to the next council meeting agenda.

Hilgerson discussed the next agenda item involving the Green Valley subdivision plat, providing an overview of the rezoning process with a preliminary plat to be submitted to the Planning and Zoning Commission and a public hearing to be held. The council reviewed and accepted the audited financial statements of Veterans Memorial Hospital (VMH).

Under Other Matters, Ellingson discussed the delivery of information packets to his residence prior to council meetings. Hilgerson indicated that scanning information packets and the use of tablets for the council are options being looked into. In the meantime, Ellingson will directly contact the Waukon Police Department and arrange delivery of his information packet when he is available at home.

Young discussed that snow parking enforcement has been suspended unless there is a significant snowfall prior to the traditional April 1 end to that snow parking ordinance. Prior to adjournment, the council and Burrett discussed streets where seal coating may be advisable.

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