Waukon City Council moves forward with proposed Aveka remedy

by Bob Beach

The Waukon City Council began its regular meeting Monday, April 6 with a public hearing regarding the dissolution of the Park and Recreation Commission and the Waukon Wellness Center Board, taking another step toward combining those two departments. There were no comments from the public and the hearing was closed.
During department reports, Water Superintendent Bob Campbell reported that a water main leak discovered on Second Street SW this past week revealed a more serious problem. He said that while the water main leak was going directly into the storm sewer, the water from that leak arrived at the water treatment plant through the sanitary sewer system, indicating a breach in the sanitary sewer line somewhere between Second Street SW and the water treatment plant. The Council authorized Campbell to begin working with Fehr Graham Engineering immediately to locate and repair the problem.
Also during department reports, the Council authorized Street Superintendent Randy Murphy to seek estimates for emergency street repairs in the 700 block of West Main Street.
Under regular business, the Council briefly discussed plans to reduce the odor produced by the Aveka facility on the north side of town. The first phase of the plan involves the installation of a bag house filter at the facility, which should be complete by July. If the bag house filter proves to be inadequate, an ionization system will be installed. A representative from Aveka said that the bag house would need to be installed before the ionization equipment, so even if the bag house is not as effective as is hoped, no money will have been wasted on its installation.
The Council scheduled a public hearing April 20 regarding the City's loan guarantee for the bag house equipment. The Council will also hold a public hearing in 30 days (May18) regarding changes to the City's Urban Revitalization Plan to provide three-year tax rebates for new home construction.
The Council also approved an agreement with Allamakee County and township members of the Waukon Area Fire Protection District to equalize the interest paid on loans for the construction of the new fire station in Waukon. Since the City was able to secure an interest-free loan while the township members' loan through the County includes a 3.25% interest rate, the agreement ensures that both the City and the townships pay the same amount of interest on the loans.
Police Chief Phil Young presented price quotes for two new police vehicles and the installation of equipment. Young said that the two 2016 Ford all-wheel-drive utility vehicles had been priced at $29,500 each and the installation of equipment will add around $8,000 to the cost of the one vehicle that would require all new equipment and $5,800 to the cost of the vehicle that would make use of equipment already owned by the City. The Council approved the estimates and authorized Young to move forward with the purchases.
City Clerk Diane Sweeney presented a cost estimate to the Council for upgrades to computer hardware in her office, replacing the current computers at a cost of $17,414.00. She said that new computers are necessary because Microsoft recently stopped supporting the operating system installed on the current computers used in the City Clerk's office.
In other business, the Council appointed Chad Wilkins to fill a vacancy on the Board of Adjustment. The Council also scheduled a public hearing April 20 for review of the City's Comprehensive Plan and Capital Improvement Plan, which can be viewed on the City's website.