Waukon City Council discusses development issues along 16th Ave. NW, authority for spending approval

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday, October 7 to address a full agenda of items including a downtown trash can proposal and estimate, the city manager’s authority to approve expenditures without prior approval of the city council and concerns relating to a subdivision development.
Mayor Pat Stone discussed the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Buddy Poppies Proclamation and read the proclamation aloud. Stone encouraged residents to support this cause through donations in honor of the sacrifices of the men and women who have risked their lives in the defense of this nation’s freedoms. The council approved the VFW Buddy Poppies Proclamation.

There was no Public Comment and the council moved into Departmental Reports. Interim Police Chief Paul Wagner reported that Bike Safety for fourth grade students was held September 23 and that the final STEP reimbursement claim has been filed in the amount of $1,742.91 with the total received in overtime reimbursement at $4,200 for their fiscal-year.

Street Superintendent Keith Burrett reported that the contractor has recommended postponing seal coating application planned for several City street areas until spring due to weather concerns and the amount of time needed for the seal coating to cure. Burrett indicated that the contractor will honor the fall bid for work completed in spring, and he advised that leaf pick-up will begin October 21 (see advertisement at bottom of this same page).

Park and Rec Wellness Director Jeremy Strub discussed some improvements and work to be done on the Wellness Center’s HVAC system. Strub provided an update on the tennis courts project indicating that the fence and bases for lights are up and that, weather permitting, the seal coat application on the courts and nets installation will take place yet this fall.

City Manager Gary Boden provided an update on the Wastewater Treatment Facility project and a related scheduled meeting. Boden requested that a special session relating to a zoning matter be scheduled for October 23 with council members agreeing upon 6 a.m. for the meeting time.
The council approved the Second Reading of the Ordinance establishing angle parking on the east side of First Street SE and waived the Third Reading of the Ordinance.

The council moved into the First Reading of the Ordinance adding language delegating to the city manager authority to approve expenditures without prior approval of the city council. A lengthy discussion took place relating to the authority of making payments for non-budgeted but necessary expenditures.

Council member Gayle Decker discussed concerns that council approval should continue relating to payments as a form of checks and balances. The First Reading of the Ordinance was approved. The Second and Third Readings were waived with adoption of the ordinance. The council approved the city manager to make necessary but non-budgeted expenditures not to exceed $7,500 and to authorize department heads to make purchases for non-budgeted but necessary expenditures not to exceed $1,000.

Waukon High School Industrial Technology teacher Caleb Ferring and students Nathan Liddiard and Liam Aldridge were present to address the next agenda item relating to trash can proposals and estimates. Ferring was present at the September 11 council meeting and had discussed the possibility of having a Waukon High School Industrial Technology class construct metal trash containers instead of the City ordering them from a manufacturer.

Liddiard presented a proposed square design being 19 inches wide and four feet tall with a metal liner. Ferring provided some additional details of the design concept which could include an orange “W” logo with the containers being painted black. The council approved the construction of ten trash containers at a total cost of $3,669.16 for materials.

City Attorney Jim Garrett indicated that he requested the next matter be added as an agenda item. Garrett explained that an error took place in the calculations for the Innovative Ag Services (IAS) and Reel Core Inc. tax rebates. Garrett indicated that an approximate $16,000 overcharge took place relating to taxes collected from IAS relating to its expansion. The council approved to have Boden draw up a budget amendment relating to the approximate $16,000 overcharge to IAS. An $824 adjustment for Reel Core was also discussed by Garrett and the council. It was agreed that no action was required at this time with that correction to be part of the certification process at a later date.

The council approved to put the Park and Recreation 1993 Ford Ranger pick-up up for sealed bid. A Police Department vehicle transfer to the Sewer Department was approved. The next agenda item relating to curb replacement at St. Patrick Church was tabled.

Council member John Ellingson addressed the next agenda item relating to the 16th Avenue NW Street evaluation. Ellingson thanked Wagner for his work in conducting an investigation relating to the damage of this street and producing a narrative based upon statements from those involved.

The council moved into discussion of property owned by Maury Regan in that Green Valley subdivision area and the request for direction relating to the development of that property located along 16th Avenue NW. A lengthy discussion took place relating to a variety of matters including run-off and drainage issues, a culvert in right of way, petroleum-based millings in right of way and a driveway not matching discussed plans. The council approved communicating with the DNR relating to environmental concerns and moving forward with City enforcement relating to the removal of a culvert. The council also discussed the possibility of setting a weight limit for 16th Avenue NW.

Senior Project Manager Lyle TeKippe of Fehr Graham Engineering addressed the next agenda item relating to the Plaza Improvements Project. TeKippe indicated that three bids have been received from contractors that he had expected were likely to respond. The council approved the plans and specifications for the project and approved to award the project contract to Skyline Construction as low bidder at $95,785.20.

The council approved the Piper Jaffray engagement letter which will be used for purposes relating to bonding and approved the distribution package used in the bidding process.

Wagner indicated that he is exploring other options relating to the police radio purchase and requested that this matter be tabled. The council agreed to table the matter.

The council moved into awarding the contract to make Police Department building drainage improvements. Burrett advised that two bids have been received for work including a retaining wall, driveway and other drainage improvements. The council approved Kelly Concrete as low bidder at $17,755 for this project.

Boden provided a report on upgrades to the City Hall computer system network advising that he has met with City staff relating to computer hardware and software needs. Boden indicated that estimates are being requested with close attention being paid to information technology (IT) services. Boden discussed that Windows 7 is becoming obsolete and is no longer being supported. Boden estimated a cost of $25,000-$30,000 for the upgrade with additional costs for IT services and that an early November upgrade completion is projected. No action was required from the council on this matter.

Prior to adjournment, the council moved into closed session per Iowa Code  Chapter 21.5 (1)(j) to discuss the purchase or sale of particular real estate only where premature disclosure could be reasonably expected to increase the price the governmental body would have to pay for that property or reduce the price the governmental body would receive for that property.

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