Waukon City Council hears RAGBRAI® update, approves new contract with Town & Country Sanitation

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Tuesday, February 21 as a result of the President's Day holiday falling on its usual meeting night of Monday. The Council discussed a full agenda of items, including the repair or replacement of City Hall windows, the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI®) and the review of Town & Country Sanitation's new contract options.

A Public Hearing was opened for an Amendment to the TIF District, which City Attorney Jim Garrett clarified as being an amendment to the Urban Renewal Plan to include the proposed Waukon Police Station facility, not to exceed $500,000. There were no written or verbal comments from the public and the hearing was closed.

During Public Comments, Joe Cunningham spoke on behalf of Trees Forever and discussed plans for tree pruning and the removal of ten ash trees from the Industrial Park. Cunningham also discussed the portion of the former Bresnahan property that is not part of the detention basin and recommended that this area be used for prairie. Mayor Duane DeWalle suggested that Planning and Zoning Board member Janel Clarke may be interested in assisting in planning the use of this property as prairie, which Cunningham agreed with and will be following up with her on the matter.

Councilman Ben Rausch suggested that in addition to the prairie use, the area would be beneficial for bee habitat or support with some funding options that may be available to do so, similar to an initiative in Cedar Rapids where land has been set aside for this purpose. Cunningham agreed that bee habitat and milkweed for butterflies would be beneficial to the prairie project and he will be looking into these and other funding options. Garrett discussed the yearly lease of the property, which is currently being used for a hay crop. With the yearly lease in mind, Cunningham agreed that a year may be beneficial for the planning of this proposed project.

Under Department Head Updates, Street Superintendent Keith Burrett discussed a new street light that was recently installed which has an opening covered by a screen, a new design that is supposed to prevent moisture build-up and wire corrosion. Burrett advised that the street sweeper was out cleaning streets this week, three weeks earlier than normal.

Park, Recreation and Wellness Director Jeremy Strub discussed that several Park and Recreation jobs will be advertised and that the Luster Heights facility closure will affect his department's budget and payroll. Strub also advised that the lighting in the Wellness Center and NICC is being replaced with energy efficient LED lighting.

Under Regular Business, March 6 was set as the Date for the Public Hearing for the Fiscal-Year 2017-2018 City Budget. Dave Wadsworth of Wadsworth Construction presented a proposal for the repair and restoration of City Hall windows. Wadsworth indicated that the repair and restoration of the historic upper level windows can be accomplished for the same price as new windows that would not retain the historic architecture style of the original arched windows. Wadsworth indicated the original glass would be retained or, if broken, replaced with double strength glass. The Council will consider the proposal and no action was taken at this time.

Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Coordinator Ardie Kuhse provided an update on the Des Moines Register's Annual Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) and preparations being made for the overnight stop in Waukon. Kuhse explained that each of the 20 committees to be involved in the overnight stay preparation now has a chairperson and planning is moving forward.

Kuhse provided an example of a temporary RAGBRAI Ordinance that will need to be approved by the Council for the collection of vendor fees and in establishing a single outdoor area for the sale of alcoholic beverages. Kuhse also advised that restaurants will not be required to pay a vendor fee to operate during RAGBRAI as long as they are operating within their premises, but sales outdoors would fall under the vendor fee requirement.

Kuhse further advised that KCRG TV9 had recently visited Waukon for a news segment about the community and preparations for RAGBRAI. She said Allamakee County has become the focus of media interest with two communities within the county, Waukon and Lansing, being stops on RAGBRAI, which is a unique situation and opportunity.

The Council reviewed new contract options from Town & Country Sanitation, including a seven-year and ten-year option. After some discussion, the Council approved the ten-year option to continue service with Town & Country Sanitation.

The Southeast Urban Renewal Plan Nineteenth Amendment for the construction of the Police Station Facility Project was approved. The Council also approved to advertise for applications to fill a vacancy in the Street Department.

The next four agenda items were routine accounting measures that the Council combined into one single vote for approval. A total of $700 from the Southeast Urban Renewal Area Tax Increment Revenue Fund was transferred to the Administrative Costs Sub Fund; $22,000 was transferred from the Special Revenue Employment Benefit Fund to the Library Fund; $10 was transferred from the Kitchen Krafts Sub Fund to the Southeast Urban Renewal Area Tax Increment Revenue Fund and $37.26 from the Fire Capital/Equipment Fund was transferred to the Capital Fire Improvement Project Fund.

The resolution to close various sections of streets from 2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. September 22, 2017 for the Waukon High School Homecoming Parade was also approved.

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