Waukon City Council approves hiring of City Manager, confirms ordinance in regard to open container concerns among other RAGBRAI® items discussed

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday, July 3 to discuss a full agenda of items, including the Reel Core storm sewer, The Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI®) and the City Manager position. There were no Public Comments and the Council moved into Departmental Reports.

Water and Sewer Superintendent Bob Campbell discussed a request from a RAGBRAI team consisting of 17 people to use a grass area near the sewer plant for camping during the event, which the Council agreed would be fine. Campbell discussed the need for a flow study to assist in the planning for the new sewer plant and recommended budgeting for this study to take place in March through June to take into consideration snow melt, the rainy season and the dry time in early summer.

Assistant Chief of Police Paul Wagner discussed a recent air quality study conducted at the current Waukon Police Department facility with concerns involving mold. Street Superintendent Keith Burrett discussed curb and gutter repairs and issues created by the natural spring near Spring Avenue.

Under Regular Business, Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker provided an overview of the RAGBRAI safety plans and protocols for Waukon and Allamakee County, including plans for severe weather, emergency shelters, railroad safety, law enforcement, medical and fire safety.

Coordinator Ardie Kuhse with Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) provided an update on the RAGBRAI planning and preparations that are taking place. Kuhse discussed homeowners and businesses that have recently volunteered space for RAGBRAI riders while additional hosts, green space and yard space are still needed. Kuhse complimented Burrett and the Street Department for their work repairing streets, with RAGBRAI officials only finding one pothole in Waukon requiring repair during a recent inspection. Kuhse further advised that Reel Core is creating trash and recycling receptacles which can be purchased by businesses and individuals to use during RAGBRAI and beyond, with those not being sold then being ground up and the plastic materials reused.

The Council discussed the City’s RAGBRAI Ordinance and concerns relating to open containers of alcohol during the event. The Council decided that the ordinance should remain as written allowing open containers, providing leeway as participants travel from downtown to camping areas. It was suggested that, instead of having to follow through on the scrutiny of open container concerns during the time of the RAGBRAI that law enforcement could pursue more serious matters covered by City code, including disorderly conduct and public intoxication, if those with open containers are found to be causing trouble.

The Allamakee County Agricultural Society’s transfer of liquor license to the 705 Allamakee Street grandstand location at the Allamakee County Fairgrounds for the July 19-23 Allamakee County Fair was approved. The Hacker, Nelson & Co. audit agreement for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017 was also approved, as was the T & W Grinding contract renewal to continue services grinding and turning compost at the City yard waste disposal site.

The Village Farm & Home Storm Water Utility was addressed by the Council. At the June 19 Council Meeting, Jan Sweeney of Village Farm & Home had advised that there is no run-off from the Village Farm & Home property going into the City’s storm sewer system and that, despite this fact, the increased storm water utility is being paid by the business. The Council agreed that no exceptions are going to be made and the ordinance was left unchanged.

The Wellness Board appointment of Dennis Lyons for a term ending July 20, 2020 was approved, as was the Shane and Stephanie Schellsmidt application for tax exemption at 113 Twelfth Street NW. The Tri-State Adjustment Service Agreement for debt collection services was also discussed and approved.
The purchase of a snow blower for the Street Department end loader from Elliott Equipment Company of Grimes was approved at $71,412. Street Superintendent Burrett discussed the Street Department vacancy and provided his recommendation to hire Brian Cota at $13 per hour with a start date of July 10, which the Council approved. The trade-in of a Bobcat end-loader with Reiser Implement was discussed by Campbell, who advised that this necessary piece of equipment is used on a daily basis. The Council approved the replacement of the Bobcat with Reiser Implement at $5,000.

The final reading of the ordinance increasing the water service rates and imposing an infrastructure fee was approved. The Council moved into discussion of the second reading of the Golf Cart ordinance and the use of registration. The matter was tabled pending a revision of the ordinance.

The ordinance adding a City Manager was discussed with the first reading being approved and the second and third readings being waived with adoption. The Council discussed that Dean Hilgerson will begin as City Manager August 14, allowing Hilgerson to provide sufficient notice to his current employer. Changes to the City Manager contract were discussed.

The 2018 Street Improvement Project was discussed by the Council and Senior Project Manager Lyle TeKippe of Fehr-Graham Engineering. TeKippe briefly discussed several items with the Council including streets, curb and gutter replacement and the process involving public input to address concerns. The matter was tabled, with TeKippe agreeing to provide additional information at a future meeting.

The Council approved July 17 as the public hearing date for the proposed contract and estimates for the 2017 Trenches Storm Sewer Improvement Project involving cement-lined storm sewer and a rectangular intake. TeKippe provided an update about the storm sewer near Kurth Plumbing and Heating and King of Grace Lutheran Church. The Council approved to have TeKippe continue with plans, specifications and easements for the project.

The Council moved into discussion of the Reel-Core storm sewer project with slip lining and replacement being similar in cost. No action was taken at this time to modify the existing plans.

The Council approved $51,524 to Pierce Manufacturing Inc. for the City's share for a new fire truck chassis. The Reel-Core franchise fee rebate of $3,508.50 was also approved. The next two agenda items involving routine financial matters were combined and approved with one vote, including $11,882.00 from the General Fund and $4,806.00 from the Library Fund being transferred to the T & A Self Insurance Partial Self Fund and $3,592.24 from the General Fund being transferred to the Hotel/Motel (Park Improvements) Fund (75% - $2,694.18) and the Hotel/Motel (Tourism/Economic Development) Fund (25% - $898.06).

Under Other Matters, Councilman Steve Wiedner discussed questions he has received from the public regarding what items are acceptable to include in the City’s new residential recycling containers. The Council suggested other communities have a listing of acceptable recycling items labeled right on the recycle containers. Councilman Dwight Jones also discussed some difficulties that may arise with garbage and recycle container placement in the winter months with the new two large bin system in place.

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