New city manager signs contract, updates heard by Waukon City Council on variety of other matters

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday, August 5 to address a full agenda of items including discussion of downtown trash cans, a potential police department building remodel and the city manager position. During Public Comment, Director Ardie Kuhse of Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) thanked City Manager Dean Hilgerson for his work for the City and assistance with WEDC and invited those in attendance to stay after adjournment for cookies and punch in honor of Hilgerson’s upcoming retirement.

John Kerndt with Trees Forever discussed that efforts should be made to save the trees that will be removed for the sidewalk project along the industrial park area and suggested transplanting them elsewhere within Waukon. Council member John Ellingson discussed the use of a tree spade as a possibility in transplanting trees if utilities are not an issue.

Under Department Head Updates, Police Chief Phil Young discussed staffing with an officer expected to return from the police academy in a couple weeks. Mayor Pat Stone commented on the positive feedback from the photo of new officers Darrek Elwood and Fallon Cassidy in the newspaper and on social media.

Street Superintendent Keith Burrett indicated that 45 of the street lights that have been replaced will be available for bidding at the August 20 auction held by Sweeney Auction Service.

Water and Sewer Superintendent Jim Cooper advised that Aveka Nutra Processing was overcharged last year for water/sewer usage and has received a credit on its billing as a result. Cooper indicated the billing and reporting issue has since been cleared up. Cooper advised that the recently repainted water tower has shown some paint issues which the contractor and paint manufacturer have been made aware of and will need to address.

Park and Rec Wellness Director Jeremy Strub indicated the tennis court project construction is moving forward and that the swimming pool will be closed Wednesday, August 21 prior to the start of school. Strub indicated that four weeks remain of Music in the Park at the amphitheater in the City Park.

Hilgerson provided an update on the Department of Transportation (DOT) Street and Sidewalk Project and indicated that the existing traffic signal will remain operational until replacement in November. Hilgerson provided updates on several ongoing projects including the USDA building site, the DOT grant process for airport improvements and work taking place at the new wastewater treatment facility site. Hilgerson discussed some options relating to the engineering costs for the Plaza Project.

Under Regular Business, the council approved the third and final reading of the Ordinance changing the zoning district from R-4 transition district to R-3 single- and two-family residence for real estate at 105 Ninth Street NW owned by Brian Sweeney. The second reading with third reading waived for the Ordinance establishing a no parking zone on a portion of Second Avenue SW near St. Patrick School was approved.

The council approved the first reading of the Ordinance reducing the number of members on the Municipal Tree Board from seven to three. The Resolution proposing disposition of interests in real property by the City of Waukon – West Side Subdivision was discussed at length by the council with Lot 1 in Lot 1 being approved. The roles of WEDC and the school district in developing these lots and home construction were discussed. The Resolution waiving the right to review the Sullivan Business Park Subdivision Plat was approved.

The council set September 3 as the public hearing date to consider the zoning change from B-2 with restrictions to B-2 for property located at 808 Fifth Avenue SW. City Attorney Jim Garrett discussed the restrictions which he described as being very specific to only include residential or a graphic design business. The urban revitalization program application for property tax exemption at 105 12th Street NW by Justin and Breanna Sommer was approved.

City Attorney Jim Garrett discussed the next agenda item involving the city manager position indicating that Gary W. Boden has signed the employment contract. The council approved to have the mayor sign the contract and discussed the gap between Hilgerson’s scheduled final day in the city manager position and Boden’s scheduled first day in that role. Hilgerson agreed to continue working beyond the August 14 date originally agreed upon as his final day. The council approved September 13 as Hilgerson’s final work day. Boden indicated that he may be able to begin work prior to his scheduled start date.

The Hacker, Nelson and Co. P.C. audit agreement for Fiscal-Year Ending June 30, 2019 and approaching audit were approved. Storm sewer easements on five properties in Block 5 of the original plat of Waukon were approved.

The council and Burrett briefly discussed the Seventh Avenue SE culvert with the council opting to take no action at this time. Garrett provided an update on the Robey Memorial Library roof indicating that Cresco Builders has been contacted through a letter regarding repair issues with the conversation on the matter expected to continue.

Police Department building remodel and repairs were discussed by the council. Burrett indicated that he is waiting on a bid from Sweeney Builders. The council discussed a potential remodel as an option that could extend the life of the current building.

Strub discussed a request to purchase a bush hog mower which is a piece of equipment the City has rented in the past. This equipment was discussed as being utilized by three City departments. The council approved the equipment purchase.

Burrett discussed trash can pricing options, recommending that ten trash cans would likely be needed for the downtown area. Council member Arvid Hatlan and Kuhse discussed a trash can design used in Parkersburg that would complement the new street light design used in Waukon. Kuhse agreed to continue to research pricing and designs.

Cooper discussed quotes received to repair or replace the north water tower lighting system. The council approved the purchase of a new LED lighting system and associated hardware. Hilgerson and the council addressed the next agenda item relating to the 16th Avenue NW cul-de-sac with maintenance and snow removal being discussed. No action was taken by the council.

The council discussed options relating to recovering costs for sidewalk on Second Street SW. No action was taken. Hilgerson recommended that council members view the City Hall upstairs with plaster repair likely being necessary. Hilgerson advised that records stored upstairs are operational and not historic and therefore could be discarded.

City Clerk Lana Snitker updated the council about plans to attend the upcoming Iowa League of Cities Annual Conference.

Brian Sweeney addressed the next agenda item involving storm water and an easement for his property at 560 Rossville Road. Sweeney indicated that water continues to be an issue preventing development of the property. Sweeney and the council discussed the history of the storm sewer under the property. Sweeney indicated that he may need to move forward in adding a drain. Ellingson motioned to have the City Attorney prepare an easement and in exchange a flat drain would be installed. That motion died for lack of a second and no action was taken.

Prior to adjournment, the council agreed to table the performance reviews of the Street Superintendent and City Clerk to allow review of information by all council members.

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