Waukon City Council discusses numerous sewer matters during holiday-delayed regular session

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Tuesday, September 6 due to the Labor Day holiday delaying its regular meeting a day. A full agenda included a discussion of the August 23-24 storm and the City's storm sewer and detention basin, the WW Homestead Dairy waste water agreement and the appointment of a new Planning & Zoning Board member.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, resident Janel Clarke addressed the Council regarding the detention basin. Clarke had recently taken photos of the basin and noticed that the wooden cover over an outflow has disintegrated and may be a hazard for pedestrians. Senior Project Manager with Fehr Graham Engineering Lyle TeKippe advised that a metal cage is being fabricated and will be galvanized. This metal structure will be placed over this outflow as a protective safety measure. TeKippe advised that he will visit with the contractor about placing a better temporary solution over the outflow in the meantime.

Under Departmental Reports, Water/Sewer Superintendent Bob Campbell discussed that work has continued on Well #5. Street Superintendent Keith Burrett discussed some specifics of possibly trading in the City's end-loader with Ziegler Caterpillar, advising that the 2002 model currently being used has seen a lot of use and is at a point where maintenance will become a greater issue moving forward. Park, Recreation and Wellness Director Jeremy Strub advised that fall programs are getting started, and he said use of the Wellness Center has picked up with school starting.

The Council approved the closing of West Street October 31 for the "Trunk or Treat" event. The street will be closed from noon to 9:30 p.m. with the event running from 5-7 p.m. Iron Ridge Church and volunteers have sponsored this event as a fun Halloween activity for the last ten years. Cars are circled in a parking lot with their trunks open and decorated. Each trunk is provided with candy and there are some interactive spots as well. Children stop at each trunk and collect a treat. Closing this street for the afternoon and evening allows for a safe environment for costumed children to participate in the event and for volunteers before and after the event.

The Fehr Graham Engineering Professional Services Agreement for sanitary Sewer collection system spot repairs was approved. This agreement includes seven locations on First Street NW, 10th Avenue NW and Third Avenue SW.

Jane Regan of Leschensky Insurance was present to address the Council regarding water drainage in the alley behind her office building on Allamakee Street. Regan recommended that the alley remain closed while renovations and repairs take place in her office building. TeKippe discussed that a variety of improvements including a storm sewer connected to downspouts would be necessary to fully address the water flow problem in the alley. Fehr Graham Engineering's project estimate is $32,300. The Council agreed that Superintendent Burrett has the authority to close the alley and parking lot as needed to accommodate the storm sewer and construction projects. TeKippe will be getting proposals and quotes from contractors for the next Council meeting.

Iowa Codification was discussed by the Council. Mayor Duane DeWalle explained that this process occurs every five years to add codes that are relevant to the local area or to adapt to what has changed at the State level. Code changes were approved for "Litter" and "Lien of Nonpayment".

WW Homestead Dairy's waste water agreement and AVEKA's waste water agreement were approved by the Council. Both companies submit these agreements to the City and Department of Natural Resources as contracts to maintain certain levels in the water released into the City's sewer system.

The 2016 Bond Issue was also addressed at the meeting. The public hearing date for the bond issue was approved for October 3.

The engagement letter with Piper Jaffray was approved. A 15-year term repayment schedule and the distribution of Form of Term Sheet by Piper Jaffray were both approved.

The August 23-24 storm was discussed by the Council. Councilman Don Steffens mentioned the advertisement by Ray Burroughs in the September 7 issue of The Standard thanking the City for their efforts handling rainwater  with the storm sewer and detention basin. A storm water utility was also discussed. Examples were provided of a monthly fee and a fee based on a property owner's square footage of pervious surface. This utility fee would be used for storm sewer repairs that are not part of a project. No action was taken at this time. This item has been added to the September 12 special session agenda.

The reimbursement of $770 to Howard Van Ruler for the repairs of the shared alley behind Howard's Home Furnishings was approved. The hiring of Riley Vine for the City's Water/Sewer position was also approved at a starting wage of $11 per hour starting September 26, 2016. Janel Clark was also approved for the vacancy on the Planning and Zoning Board with a term that expires September 21, 2020.

The Council approved the (WEDC) Waukon Economic Development Corporation request of $850 for assistance in paying property taxes. These funds will be applied towards taxes for the Industrial Park and Park Place Lots. The City Clerk's request to advertise for an Assistant Payroll/Assistant Utility Billing Clerk was discussed and approved, as was the Official Financial Report for City Streets and Parking for the City of Waukon for July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016.

The revised option to purchase the former C-Mart property received approval from the Council. Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation (NEICAC) has expressed interest in purchasing the former C-Mart property on West Main Street.

TeKippe provided information regarding the spot repairs on the sanitary sewer in Northgate and one on Third Avenue SW. These repairs have an estimate of $51,900 from Fehr Graham Engineering. The Council approved moving forward with the repairs. The storm sewer repairs in the vicinity of West Main Street and First Avenue SW were also approved.

The Council also discussed the Seventh Avenue SE and Rossville Road storm sewer project. Easements have not been acquired for two properties. The Council approved moving forward with the project at the properties where easements have been acquired.

Several financial and accounting matters were combined and approved through a single vote by the Council. This includes the transfer of $658.18 from the Hotel/Motel (Park Improvements) Fund to the 2013 Flood Fund, the transfer of $4,414.50 from the Street Improvement Fund to the Storm Sewer Improvement Fund for engineering costs, with the understanding that when loan proceeds are received this amount will be paid back by transfer to the Street Improvement Fund. The motion also included the transfer of $10,415 from the General Fund to the T&A Self Insurance Partial Self Fund and the transfer of $3,000 from the Library Fund to the T&A Self Insurance Fund and the transfer of $921.43 from the RUT Fund to the General Fund to correct a coding error.