Waukon City Council moves forward with combined Wellness Center/Park & Rec Board, gives approval to new police vehicle purchase

by Bob Beach

During its regular meeting Monday, June 1, the Waukon City Council continued its discussions regarding the formation of a new board to combine the current Park and Recreation Board and the Waukon Wellness Center Board. City Attorney Jim Garrett presented the Council with a new draft of an ordinance to establish the new board, but also informed the Board that Allamakee Community School District Superintendent Dave Herold had expressed the School Board’s concern about its representation on the new board.
The ordinance, as presented, included only one representative from the school district on the seven-member board and Herold pointed out that the school district contributes over 25 percent of the Wellness Center budget while one member on a seven-member board amounts to only 17 percent representation. After some discussion, the Council voted to approve the first reading of the ordinance with the school board appointing two members of the seven-member board. Councilman Trent Mitchell voted no, saying that the City bears the majority of the “burden” of the combined board.
The Council then resumed discussions of new vehicles for the police department, an issue that stirred controversy because the vehicles recommended by Police Chief Phil Young could not be purchased from one of the local car dealerships. Young reiterated that the vehicles available locally would not best serve the department’s needs. “I have nothing against Pladsen’s or Torkelson’s, they just don’t have the vehicle we need,” Young said. The Council agreed with Young’s assessment and voted unanimously to authorize Young to purchase two 2016 Ford utility vehicles from Brown’s Service and Sales in Elkader.
The Council also voted unanimously to discontinue its policy to refund 25 percent of sanitary sewer charges in cases where water leaks cause higher than normal water bills.
In other business, the Council approved a street dance in the parking lot behind Goodfella’s bar Saturday, June 13. The Council scheduled two public hearings, the first June 15 to propose the sale of a vacated alley segment near the Fairgrounds and the second June 22 regarding the lifting of zoning restrictions along Ninth Street SW to allow a church as permitted use.
The Council also approved the purchase of a 6’ x 10’ trailer from Palmer Repair for $1,200 for the Water and Sewer Department and agreed to reimburse the City of New Albin approximately $12,000 for Jeremy Wicks’ training as a police officer. City Attorney Garrett also informed the Council that the proper plat for the former Northern Engraving building has now been recorded.