Sewer and drainage items account for majority of discussion at regular Waukon City Council session

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session at City Hall Monday, August 15 to discuss a full agenda of items including the 2016 Audit Agreement, water drainage behind the Leschensky Insurance building and the Countryside Estates sanitary sewer. Two items were added to the agenda at the beginning of the meeting. Special Class “C” Liquor licenses for the Yen Hing Dragon and Odie’s Place - the bowling alley, were added and approved by the Council.

During the Public Comments portion of the meeting, Ardie Kuhse with Waukon Economic Development Corporation addressed the City Council. Kuhse relayed that Allamakee County and Waukon have been accepted as a future home of a Freedom Rock, which is a large boulder painted by artist Ray “Bubba” Sorenson II to honor military veterans and their service to this country. Kuhse said Allamakee County will then be part of the Freedom Rock Tour, which is a tourist attraction. Kuhse also discussed that Waukon Corn Days is this weekend, saying that volunteers are still needed and welcome to help with events. She also said KCRG TV Channel 9 was in town last week doing interviews in preparation for their Our Town: Waukon segment that will feature the Corn Days celebration and air this Friday, August 19.

During the Departmental Reports, Water/Sewer Superintendent Bob Campbell reported that his meeting with Aveka in regard to wastewater treatment went well. He said Aveka and WW Homestead Dairy will each be submitting a form in regard to treatment plans and Campbell hopes to have that information for the next Council meeting. Campbell also reported that sand at pump five has continued to be as issue.

Street Department Superintendent Keith Burrett discussed that the street lights on West Street are now working. Park, Recreation and Wellness Director Jeremy Strub discussed that his department is now between seasons but fall sports will be starting soon. City Clerk Al Lyon commented that the part-time employee at City Hall has transferred roughly 58,000 archived documents to Laserfiche. She is returning to school but will continue with two hours daily during the work week.

Under Regular Business, the Hacker, Nelson & Co. 2016 Audit agreement was discussed. This agreement locks in the company’s services for three years at a set price. The Council approved September 19 as the date when Hacker, Nelson & Co. will begin its audit.

Jane Regan with Leschensky Insurance was present to address the next agenda item concerning water drainage in the alley behind the Shafer, Leschensky, Kerndt and Miller businesses and buildings that line the east side of the initial block of Allamakee Street. Regan advised that major renovations will be taking place at her office building, explaining that there are some foundation issues and replacing the back wall of the building is the best option. Regan discussed that rainfalls create a considerable amount of water in the alley that needs to be channeled away from the buildings and their foundations. She said the alley has sunk in due to the excessive amount of water over the years. Mayor Duane DeWalle suggested that an engineer needs to look at this and provide a recommendation. The Council approved having Senior Project Manager with Fehr-Graham Engineering Lyle TeKippe look at the alley and drainage issues.

The next two agenda items involving the Northwest Detention Basin were combined and approved by the Council. The Change Order #1 involving Rusty Berger Masonry Inc. was approved for an increase of $3,126.04. The Partial Pay Estimate #3 for Rusty Berger Masonry Inc. at $184,919.04 was also approved.

Campbell addressed the next agenda item involving the Northgate and Third Avenue SW sanitary sewer proposed repairs. Campbell discussed that there are seven areas where the Visu-Sewer camera could not get to due to collapsing. The Council approved to have cost estimates generated for these repairs.

The Countryside Estates sanitary sewer was discussed by the Council. Councilman Don Steffens expressed that an exception should be considered for those homeowners not interested in hooking up to the City’s sanitary sewer due to the expense if they have septic systems that work without problems. Councilman Dewey Jones provided a different opinion in that Countryside Estates residents are taxpayers who should be benefiting from the City’s sanitary sewer system.

Several Countryside Estates homeowners were present. Kristi Campbell addressed the Council and expressed the positives of the sanitary sewer and that hooking up to the sewer can be done with minimal cost and damage to lawns. Ken Lampman expressed that he is opposed to being required to hook up to the City’s sanitary sewer system. After some discussion and feedback from the public in attendance, the Council tabled this issue and will continue discussion at a later time. Questions and additional information from City Attorney James Garrett, who was not present at the meeting, will be asked at a later time.

Business owner Jack Sweeney addressed the Council regarding the Rossville Road and Seventh Avenue SE storm sewer agenda item. Sweeney questioned the Council about easements and the ownership, responsibility and liability associated with storm sewer pipes. Sweeney also discussed concerns relating to easements and the construction of condominiums that he is considering.

The West Main Street and First Avenue SW storm sewer was discussed. The Council approved moving forward with repairs once all the easements are in place. The vacancy on the Park, Recreation and Wellness Board was discussed, with the Council approving the reappointment of Anne Blocker to this position on the Board.

The next three agenda items involved routine accounting measures and were combined and approved. Funds were transferred from the General Fund to the Library Fund, from the Sewer Operation Maintenance Fund to the 2011 Capital Improvement Fund, and from the TIF Fund to the Administrative Costs Sub-Fund.

NEICAC CACP Housing Director Jeremy Jostand addressed the Council regarding the C-Mart and West Side Development properties. He said there is a potential buyer that is interested in constructing a house on the former C-Mart property on West Main Street. Jostand also advised that a buyer has expressed interest in building a commercial building on the West Side Development.

The Indian Springs Pond final agenda item was tabled due to not being able to enter into closed session with the City Attorney not present.