Waukon City Council updated on a variety of issues at regular session

by Bob Beach

During public comment time at the regular meeting of the Waukon City Council Monday, October 20, a resident of Third Street NE asked for a progress report on improvements to fix drainage problems on the street. Lyle TeKippe of Fehr-Graham Engineering said that some preliminary work had begun on the improvements that both he and the engineering firm that had reviewed the project had suggested. He said that he expects those improvements to be completed soon and that he should have a recommendation for the Council to approve the completion of the work at its next meeting, scheduled for November 3.
During department reports, Water and Sewer Superintendent Bob Campbell informed the Council that a representative from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency arrived at the City's water treatment facility Monday to review records and take samples, with plans to remain for the rest of the week. Campbell said that while the visit comes as a surprise, it is no cause for concern, as the inspection is part of the permitting process for the facility.
Police Chief Phil Young told the Council that the furnace at the police station has stopped working and needs to be replaced. The Council approved a bid of $2,251.95 from Kurth Plumbing and Heating to install a new furnace. Young told the Council that the City will receive a $600 rebate from Black Hills Energy on the purchase of the high-efficiency furnace.
Zoning Administrator Al Lyon reminded the Council that the Planning and Zoning Board would be meeting next Tuesday, October 28 at 7 p.m. Councilman Trent Mitchell requested that the Council meet with the Board to discuss flood mitigation and the possibility of instituting a storm sewer utility fee to help fund future storm sewer projects. Lyon agreed to have the item added to the Board's agenda.
In light of unexpectedly high bids for the street grading and installation of curb and gutter and water and sewer utilities in the West Side Development area, project engineer Lyle TeKippe suggested that instead of rebidding the project, the Council could accept the plans and specifications and the low bid from Skyline Construction and then eliminate some of the contracted items with a change order. TeKippe said that the project could then move forward with the installation of water and sewer services necessary for the school district to continue with its home construction project. The Council agreed, voting unanimously to approve the plans and specifications for the project as well as Skyline Construction's bid. TeKippe said he would prepare the specific change orders for the Council's next regular meeting.
The Council also approved the first reading of several ordinances presented by City Attorney Jim Garrett that were prepared at the City's request by Iowa Codification. One of the ordinances regulates the sale of alternative nicotine products to minors; one revises the procedures for filling vacancies of elected offices; one revises the procedures for filing nomination petitions for elected offices; and one revises the regulation of liquor, wine and beer with regard to adults providing alcohol to minors.
In other business, the Council approved changing the designation of the City's two "reserve police officers" to "permanent part-time officers." Police Chief Young told the Council that by state law, because both are certified officers, they can't be designated as "reserve officers." He noted that the semantic change also results in a small wage increase in accordance with the union contract.