Waukon City Council updated on ATV Ordinance and variety of street and sewer matters, enters closed session for dredging project item

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Tuesday, July 5 due to the Fourth of July holiday falling on the Council's usual Monday meeting day. The Council discussed a full agenda of items including soil stockpiled on the Westwood Apartments property, the proposed ATV/Golf Cart Ordinance and the Country Side Estates sanitary sewer.

The public hearing for the 2016 PCC Street Repairs project was opened and closed without any objections or comments to start the meeting business. That project entails concrete replacement work at 11 different locations on City streets. The 2016 PCC Street Repairs project plans were confirmed and approved by the Council later in the meeting. Concrete Foundations, Inc. of New Hampton was awarded the contract for this project.

During the Public Comments portion of the meeting, Ardie Kuhse with Allamakee County Economic Development addressed the Council to discuss the possibility of Waukon becoming the home of a Freedom Rock. The Freedom Rock program involves artist Ray "Bubba" Sorensen, who paints murals on large rocks honoring veterans and their service to their country.
Kuhse discussed that if Waukon were to host a Freedom Rock, it would be a tourist attraction and a tribute to Allamakee County veterans. The Council was supportive of the idea and discussed multiple locations within the city that could be a possible host site. The Memory Garden in Waukon City Park was mentioned and other locations within the City Park were also presented as options.

With the Council's expressed support of the project, Kuhse will be contacting Waukon Park, Recreation and Wellness Director Jeremy Strub to further discuss the idea. Kuhse mentioned that this would be a long-term project and that Waukon may not become a site for a Freedom Rock until 2020.

Allamakee is one of nine counties in Iowa that has not yet participated in this project. The project's goal is to have all 99 Iowa counties involved with the Freedom Rock Tour as a way to boost tourism and thank veterans.

Jim Hanson with Hanson Construction of Waukon also briefly addressed the Council during Public Comment time. Hanson mentioned that Lyle TeKippe, Senior Project Manager with Fehr-Graham Engineering, has not supplied a survey of the Indian Springs Pond dredging as of yet, a project Hanson had been involved with. The topic was not addressed by the Council at this time since it was listed on the agenda for later in the meeting.

Under Departmental Reports, Waukon City Clerk Allen Lyon discussed developing a system to track inter-departmental use of equipment and personnel. Lyon provided the example of Park personnel mowing lawn at the airport and along Eleventh Avenue SW.

Under Regular Business, Pat Bresnahan was present representing Westwood Apartments in northwest Waukon. Bresnahan expressed concerns about the piles of soil from the Northwest Detention Basin project that have been stockpiled at the edge of the Westwood property adjacent to the project location.

Bresnahan suggested that the City should have surveyed and staked out the property line so this did not happen. TeKippe of Fehr-Graham Engineering addressed Bresnahan's concerns and apologized on behalf of the City and contractor. TeKippe agreed that the affected lawn would be re-seeded and that this is only a temporary situation and an oversight that will be corrected.

TeKippe also addressed the next agenda item relating to the survey of the alley between the City parking lot and Howards Home Furnishings. Fehr-Graham has completed the survey and the agreement for professional services to relocate survey markers for the City parking lot was approved by the Council.

Street Department employment applications were discussed. The hiring of Brent Johnson, who currently works with the City's Water Department, to fill the Street Department vacancy was approved.

Street Superintendent Keith Burrett addressed the next agenda item involving the disposal of the Street Department's 2000 Dodge pick-up, a snow plow and a trailer through sealed bids. The Council approved advertising the sale of those items as one lot.

Burrett also discussed some work done by his department to stop and prevent further erosion around a culvert along Ninth Street SW. The Council authorized Burrett to get the required Department of Natural Resources (DNR) permits for work on the stream bank on the west side of Ninth Street SW.

Water/Sewer Superintendent Bob Campbell discussed the Countryside Estates sanitary sewer. Campbell's home is in the Countryside Estates development in southwest Waukon. Several of Campbell's neighbors were in attendance, including Rod and Barb Smed, who also shared information in regard to the matter. It was explained that problems with leach lines and other sewer aspects have increased as more homes have been developed in that neighborhood, which was formerly cropland.

Campbell explained that the time of transfer law has also come into effect since this area was developed, requiring a homeowner to have his or her septic tank inspected and approved before the sale of that home can be completed. The Council discussed a cost-share option to encourage homeowners to hook up to the City sewer system and the use of easements within that development area. The Council will continue to research options relating to this issue. No action was taken at this time in regard to the matter.

The proposed ATV/Golf Cart Ordinance was addressed by Waukon Police Chief Phil Young, who explained that he has been in contact with the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) and DNR, and both have advised that counties should wait until proposed legislation changes allowing the crossing of State highways is approved or not before making policies locally on this issue. There are two State highways within Waukon that are a barrier to the legal use of ATVs, and Waukon does not have a gravel road that leads into city limits, which would be covered by the new Allamakee County ordinance. The Council tabled the issue and no action was taken at this time.

The variance request for the home owned by Michael Holthaus at 409 Second Street SW was approved. Holthaus will be adding a second story to his home above the kitchen area. Expanding upward is preferable rather than outward, which would interfere with utility lines.

One of the final meeting agenda items was the Indian Springs Pond dredging project Jim Hanson had begun to discuss during the Public Comments portions of the meeting. Once the meeting reached that agenda item, the Council went into closed session under Iowa Code Section 21.5(1)(c) to discuss strategy with City Attorney James Garrett where litigation is imminent and disclosure would likely prejudice or disadvantage the position of the governmental body in that litigation.

After the Council re-entered open session, two routine budget and accounting measures were approved as final agenda items. Transfers of funds from the General Fund to the Hotel/Motel (Park Improvements) Fund and Hotel/Motel (Tourism/Economic Development) Fund and from the Library Fund to the General Fund were approved prior to the meeting being adjourned.

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