Waukon City Council sets Spring Citywide Clean-Up for May 11; 10% increase in wastewater utility service charges approved on 3-2 vote, effective July 1

*Monday, April 1, 2019 Waukon City Council Meeting: Ordinance – Amending the code of ordinances of the City of Waukon, Iowa, 1998, by increasing wastewater utility service charges.

In the April 3 edition of The Standard, the headline and article text indicate that the above ordinance was approved. As clarification, the first reading of the ordinance was approved. A second reading of this ordinance will take place at the April 15 Waukon City Council meeting with a third reading to take place or to be potentially waived prior to final approval of the ordinance.


by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday, April 1 to address a full agenda of items including a quote for an assessment of the City Hall computer network, property nuisance abatement and an increase to wastewater utility service charges.

There was no Public Comment and the meeting moved into Departmental Reports with Police Chief Phil Young discussing that last weekend was quiet and that the process to fill vacancies in the Waukon Police Department is moving forward with the testing of applicants taking place April 13.

Street Superintendent Keith Burrett indicated that the Street Department will likely be moving to a schedule consisting of four 10-hour days next week. Burrett discussed garbage containers downtown and whether or not larger containers would be advisable after the 2019 Department of Transportation (DOT) Street and Sidewalk Project is completed. Burrett indicated that the disposal of large items in the small light pole mounted garbage containers has been an issue and agreed to follow up on the matter. City Manager Dean Hilgerson added for the record that the garbage containers downtown are for public use and not for waste generated by businesses.

Water and Sewer Superintendent Jim Cooper provided an update on digging required for three sewer/water infrastructure projects that are planned in conjunction with the DOT road project on West Main Street. That work will be accomplished with the assistance of Bruening Rock Products due to time constraints, depth and staffing required.

Park and Rec Wellness Director Jeremy Strub indicated that Park employees have started to handle preparations for the summer season and that the soccer program will be starting next Saturday. He advised that bids for the tennis court project will be opened Wednesday, April 10.

Hilgerson indicated that Wednesday, April 3 a pre-construction meeting for the Wastewater Treatment Plant will be conducted by Fehr Graham Engineering with contractors and sub-contractors to be in attendance. Hilgerson discussed a recent Ambulance Board meeting with discussion of an updated 28E agreement to involve townships. Hilgerson briefly discussed the sidewalk repair presentation by Precision Concrete Cutting that took place earlier this year, advising that their services are typically for city sidewalks and not residential, with the matter on hold. Hilgerson also provided an update on safety training completed by several City employees.

Under Regular Business, the Resolution authorizing and approving a Loan and Disbursement Agreement and providing for the issuance and securing the payment of $10,000,000 in Sewer Revenue Bonds was approved. The public hearing date for the budget amendment for Fiscal-Year ending June 30, 2019 was set as May 6.

The Resolution agreeing to close the extension of Allamakee Street (Highway 9) from the Allamakee County Courthouse south on Allamakee, traveling across to Main Street to Spring Avenue to Rossville Road (Highways 9 and 76) to Oakland Cemetery for the 2019 Memorial Day Parade was approved.

* The council moved into the Ordinance Amending Code of Ordinances by increasing wastewater utility service charges. Council member John Ellingson asked for clarification on the matter with Hilgerson indicating that this matter involves a ten percent service charge increase starting July 1 compared to last year, with a slightly lower increase for the second year, due to increased revenue necessary to service debt associated with the new Wastewater Treatment Plant. The ordinance was approved with council members Arvid Hatlan and Ellingson voting against approval.

Executive Director Val Reinke with Allamakee County Economic Development (ACED) presented information relating to the Northeast Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund (NEIRHTF) Residential Home Removal Program. Reinke discussed that the program allows a maximum of $20,000 per county with $5,000 per project allowed as incentive for city, county or non-profit owned houses beyond repair to be demolished with the goal of rebuilding residential houses in their place.

The request from the Allamakee County Cattlemen relating to the month of May as Beef Month was approved. The council discussed the annual approval of this matter as being necessary per City Code with the authorization to use City sidewalk for grilling and food sales.

The Bankers Trust Company service transition to UMB Bank was approved, a matter relating to the administration of debt service following Bankers Trust Company’s decision to no longer serve as trustee or agent.

The council moved into discussion of appointments for the Community Facilities Planning and Technical Assistance Committee. Hilgerson advised that this committee will be working with RC&D involving grants for financial support for the Waukon Municipal Airport. Coordinator Ardie Kuhse with Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), Mayor Pat Stone, Hilgerson and council members John Lydon and Gayle Decker were approved as committee members.

The council discussed applying renters’ deposits to delinquent utility accounts, a matter that was previously reviewed but requiring a formal motion. The council approved the matter.

Cooper and the council discussed the potential purchase of a sewer camera. Cooper indicated that a demonstration of a sewer viewing camera has been scheduled and discussed options relating to purchasing a camera or having sewer lining contractors exclusively handle sewer viewing. The council agreed to table the matter until after the sewer camera demonstration.

The Walk-On Waukon group’s 2019 sidewalk project engineering quotes were reviewed with the council approving the low bid received from Mohn Surveying.

Burrett discussed Street Department matters including core-outs, cement replacement and street maintenance. The council agreed to authorize Burrett to move forward on necessary repair and maintenance projects while working with Hilgerson regarding budget.

Hilgerson provided an overview of a quote received from Access Systems for an assessment of the City Hall computer system. Ellingson suggested the involvement of Assistant Police Chief Paul Wagner in determining the Waukon Police Department’s computer network needs and for the police department to be added to the assessment by Access Systems. The council approved the $500 assessment by Access Systems.

There was discussion of tablets for council members to eliminate paper waste and expedite the sharing of council meeting information. Ellingson and Hatlan discussed advantages of Apple tablets. The council approved to pursue quotes for the Apple Ipad Pro with protective cases.

Burrett discussed the sealcoat and street maintenance of Third Avenue NW and Second Street NW with some discussion of different types of sealcoating options. Hilgerson indicated that there was no new information to provide regarding the Green Valley subdivision plat or zoning matters agenda item.

Hilgerson provided an update on the 2019 DOT Street and Sidewalk project and briefly discussed some unavoidable delays involved in the street light purchase. Stone discussed the removal of trees from the boulevard in preparation for the street and sidewalk project with some trees remaining. The council agreed to authorize Hilgerson and Burrett to meet with a contractor regarding the removal of the remaining trees in the boulevard.

The council discussed the need for property nuisance enforcement with Ellingson discussing former City Clerk Al Lyon’s nuisance abatement documentation as a model for this process which included photos and reports. Ellingson discussed that nuisance abatement is a health and safety matter that affects the city’s aesthetics. The council approved to investigate the hiring of a part-time nuisance officer.

The council approved May 11 as Spring Clean-Up Day within the city.

Under Other Matters, Kuhse discussed concerns relating to the LED sign placed within the downtown Plaza. Kuhse discussed restrictions from the DOT as far as content placed on the LED sign due to its placement near a DOT highway and on City property. Kuhse indicated that WEDC has agreed to comply with restrictions to only allow City-sponsored content on the LED sign. Ellingson requested that Kuhse forward any DOT letters or documentation on the matter for him to review with some potential leeway if this falls under a policy matter.

Kuhse indicated that a Civil Engineering and Architecture Class will be using the former Tierney Building as an example to create a business design. Kuhse discussed that the project involves a fictitious business but may spark some new ideas for use of the building.

Kuhse provided a brief update on the Broadband Committee and Plaza Committee meetings and discussed that work continues in putting feelers out to retailers who could potentially occupy the Shopko retail store following its closure.

Young discussed maintenance of the City’s emergency sirens, advising weekly use to extend battery life and to identify problems. Stone discussed that sirens are used to indicate that the public remain indoors due to dangerous weather conditions. Young and Stone agreed a weekly siren test for one minute each Friday may be an option to consider.

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