Waukon City Council votes to approve new Park, Recreation and Wellness Commission

by Bob Beach

The regular meeting of the Waukon City Council Monday, July 6 was relatively short, not because of a short agenda, but because several of the items on the agenda had been previously discussed at length.
City Attorney Jim Garrett informed the Council that a different source of funding would need to be decided on for the repair of the roof on the building more popularly known as "the Tierney building" on the southwest corner of the intersection of Main Street and Spring Avenue, as there is not enough money in the TIF fund to pay for the $50,000 project. “The cost of the West Side Project pretty much wiped out the TIF balance,” he said.
He suggested that the money for the project could be drawn from other sources, such as an internal loan from the General Fund, but he said he would like to consult with a bond attorney before making a recommendation to the Council. Councilman Trent Mitchell suggested that Lyle Tekippe of Fehr Graham Engineering should inspect the building before the money is spent on a new roof.
The Council then moved on to approve an ordinance to designate the entire city as a revitalization area and adopted a resolution establishing a three-year tax credit for construction of new homes within the revitalization area.
Next on the agenda was the final passage of an ordinance to establish the new Park, Recreation and Wellness Commission, which combines the Park and Recreation and Wellness Center Boards into a single entity. In addition to passage of the ordinance, the Council approved an amendment to the 28E agreement for the Wellness Center to include the newly established Commission and to remove the Veterans Memorial Health Care Foundation from the agreement, as that entity has already fulfilled its obligation to guarantee operational funding for the Wellness Center for five years. Councilman Trent Mitchell voted no on both the ordinance and the 28E agreement amendment, having previously stated his objection to allowing the Allamakee Community School District two representatives on the seven-member Commission.
The Council then unanimously approved an ordinance to establish a no-parking zone on First Street SE between Second and Third Avenue. That no-parking area is being established to help alleviate site distance issues at the intersection of the streets involved.
Turning to police business, the Council approved the expenditure of $4,000 per vehicle for three vehicles to be brought into compliance with a State mandate related to electronic filing of court documents. Police Chief Phil Young said that each of the department’s vehicles would need to be equipped with a tough duty laptop computer, a digital scanner and a printer. The Council advised Young to pay to equip one squad car for now and address the installation of the equipment in the new vehicles when they are delivered.
Young also asked the Council to consider a couple of requests related to Police Officer Jeremy Wicks, who was recently injured in an off-duty jet ski accident. The Council rejected the request to allow other officers in the department to donate their accumulated comp time to Wicks due to concerns about setting a precedent for shuffling comp time, possible issues with the union contract and complications with bookkeeping. The Council approved allowing Wicks to return to work for light duty, as Young said that there is plenty of paperwork to be completed at the station and Wicks is currently without any income.
Lyle Tekippe of Fehr Graham Engineering suggested incorporating the addition of curb and gutter to a portion of First Street SW with the Third Street SW paving project to be completed next summer. Property owner Mike Snitker said that he would prefer to complete the curb and gutter on the cul-de-sac sooner than that. The Council suggested that Snitker should be allowed to complete his portion of the project and Tekippe said that he would work with Snitker to ensure that the two projects match up in the end.
In other business, the Council approved repairs to Well #5 at a cost of $27,467.85 and the purchase of a light pole for the West Side Development for $966. The Council also agreed to allow outdoor seating with no outside sales at the Waukon Bowling and Sport Center for a wedding reception July 10.