Waukon City Council moves forward with Third Street NE assessments and West Side Development Project

The West Side Development Project and 2013 Street Improvements Project dominated much of the agenda for what turned out to be a half-hour regular session for the Waukon City Council Monday, December 15. There was no public comment offered by those in attendance or otherwise, so the Council pretty much stuck to the script of the 19-item regular business agenda.

Prior to addressing those regular business items, department heads updated the Council on various matters. Water Superintendent Robert Campbell apprised the Council on cost figures for smoke testing and flow assessments for the City's sewer system, revealing that the smoke testing would cost somewhere in the $2,500 range while the flow assessments would fall in the neighborhood of $25,000 to $30,000, or more, depending upon what assessments are made.

"It would probably not be a bad investment to see if we are overtaxing the system," Campbell said, acknowledging that the flow assessments would have to be a budget consideration for the future and not something that could be absorbed, cost-wise, at this time.

Police Chief Phil Young advised the Council that his department has "five good applicants" for an open officer position within his department, with Young saying "a couple of them" are being considered for filling the position, an item that will be placed on the agenda for the January 5 council meeting. Young also told the Council that his department recently assisted the Northeast Iowa Drug Task Force in executing four search warrants in Cresco that led to nine arrests. "They assist us all the time, so we needed to return the favor," he said. "Four houses takes a lot of manpower."

The 2013 Street Improvements Project was the first item of regular business for the meeting, the Council first voting on a resolution to accept the work on the project, which was comprised mainly of the repaving of Third Street NE. After a motion and second were made to accept the work covering the project, that acceptance was ultimately approved by a majority vote of the Council, but councilman Steve Wiedner did cast a lone "no" vote in the final roll call approval for the resolution.

With the work being accepted, the Council then voted to initiate the process for the assessments to each property owner adjacent to Third Street NE to help fund the project. Those assessments will be mailed out in early to mid-January, with City Attorney Jim Garrett advising that some of those assessments are "down considerably" from the preliminary assessments discussed in regard to the project.

A final change order and payment were then approved for Skyline Construction in regard to the Street Improvements Project. That payment involved finishing work to help bring the project to completion.

The West Side Development Project claimed the next four agenda items, the Council first approving a change order to bring the contract back to its original plan of work to be completed now that funding had fallen into place to complete the curb and gutter and other street work that had initially been removed from the original contract due to bids coming in higher than first predicted. Two of those four agenda items also involved the process of amending the original West Side Development agreement to now allow for the sale of both Lots 4 and 5, with City Attorney Garrett commenting, "Both lots are being paid for now so the money will be there to pay for the street work."

The Council also gave its approval to request a 10-foot easement from the Allamakee Community School District in order for electrical utility work to be completed in regard to the West Side Development Project along the north side of the project area. The easement would allow access to a transformer located on the south side of the Waukon Wellness Center property, according to City Zoning Administrator Al Lyon.

Approval was also given to replace a street light fixture located on West Main Street in front of the Post Office with a similar 400-watt fixture at a cost of $458.39. Replacement of the fixture with a LED model would cost approximately four times that amount and was turned down by the Council at this time.

A payment of $11,453 was approved for home rehabilitation and lead hazard reduction work on a home within the city limits through the City's housing rehabilitation program funded by a Community Development Block Grant. Approval was also given to a series of internal funding transfers and advancements.

The final agenda item prior to adjournment involved consideration of the City's interest in the existing fire station building. The Council voted to enter into closed session to discuss the matter before re-entering open session to adjourn the meeting.