Waukon City Council organizes for new year, discusses variety of items in regard to upcoming DOT Street Project and continues enforcement of snow removal fees

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday, January 7 for the first meeting of 2019 to address a variety of organizational matters and agenda items. The Public Hearing on the proposed plans and specifications for the 2019 Street and Sidewalk Improvement Project was opened and closed without written or verbal comment. There was no Public Comment.

Under Departmental Reports, Street Superintendent Keith Burrett advised that the Street Department will be taking down Christmas decorations. Park and Rec Wellness Director Jeremy Strub indicated that Youth Basketball and Adult Volleyball have begun and that the Waukon Wellness Center is off to a good start for the year. Strub provided an update on the tennis court project, indicating that final approval from the United States Tennis Association regarding the tennis court grant has yet to be given with engineering for the project being completed and fundraising having gone well.

Water and Sewer Superintendent Jim Cooper was not in attendance due to a schedule conflict. City Manager Dean Hilgerson provided an update from Cooper in his absence, indicating that the digester is back up and running and that updates and maintenance work on lift stations have been ongoing.

Hilgerson provided an update regarding his activities discussing budget work that has been ongoing, scheduled meetings involving the State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan for the new Wastewater Treatment Facility and that the Department of Transportation (DOT) Street Project bid letting will take place next week.

The council moved into Regular Business by setting the date, time and place for regular City Council meetings as the first and third Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the City Hall building. The council set its meeting agenda posting location as the bulletin board in the City Hall entrance and designated The Standard newspaper as the official newspaper for the City.

City Clerk Lana Snitker read aloud the Mayor appointments not requiring council approval, including Gayle Decker as Mayor Pro-Tem and Council Committees including the Fire Committee: Arvid Hatlan and John Lydon; Water/Sewer Committee: Arvid Hatlan and John Lydon; Street Committee: Ben Rausch and John Ellingson; Ordinance Committee: John Ellingson and Gayle Decker; and the Finance Committee: Gayle Decker and Ben Rausch.

The council approved Mayor appointments including Phil Young as Waukon Police Chief and Anna Hoins as Assistant Zoning Administrator. Council appointments were also approved including Lana Snitker as City Clerk, Dr. Steven Perkins as City Health Officer, Jim Cooper as Water/Sanitary Sewer Superintendent, Keith Burrett as Street Superintendent and Dean Hilgerson as Zoning Administrator. The Resolution approving depositories of City funds was also approved.

Mayor Pat Stone and the council discussed that the City’s mileage reimbursement rate has been set at 54 cents per mile for the use of a private automobile for City business. Ellingson advised that the current Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rate is set at 58 cents per mile, with the council approving to match the IRS reimbursement rate.

The Resolution accepting work covering the 2018 First Avenue NW Resurfacing Project was approved. The Resolution finally approving and confirming plans and specifications for the 2019 DOT Street and Sidewalk Improvement Project also received approval.

Howard Van Ruler with Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) discussed the Proposal for the West Side Development. Van Ruler indicated that Lots 1 and 2 would be split into four lots while still allowing the sale of two lots together if need be. The council and Van Ruler discussed the City and WEDC roles in the West Side Development and City Attorney Jim Garrett agreed to update the agreement.

Jill Kistler of Waukon addressed the council regarding snow removal costs. Kistler discussed legal specifics with the council and Garrett relating to the $200 citation received for snow removal on her property. Kistler explained that prior to leaving on vacation, she had arranged for a local business to handle snow removal which did take place with salt application the following morning. Burrett advised that the snowfall took place December 3 with sidewalk snow removal by the City taking place December 10 with photos taken prior to the snow removal by the Street Department at her property. The council and Kistler further discussed the potential financial responsibility of the contractor hired for snow removal and the $200 citation, which will continue to be enforced.

No action was taken on the next agenda item involving Brandon and Jami Kasemeier and sidewalk snow removal. The Kasemeiers were not in attendance at the council meeting to address the matter.

Veterans Memorial Hospital CEO Mike Myers provided an update on the current ambulances in operation and budgeting plans and options for a new ambulance purchase and replacement to take place in the next three years. Myers also answered questions and provided feedback to the council on a variety of related matters.

The Urban Revitalization Program application for property tax exemption from Nancy Haberichter at 315 First Avenue NE was reviewed with the council approving to send the matter to the Allamakee County Courthouse for final approval.

Jesse Delaney with Skyline Construction discussed the DOT Street Project and plans for tree disposal. The council and Burrett indicated that the City’s compost site would be used for the disposal with limbs and tree trunks to be separated. The Council approved to accept tree refuse at the compost site from the project.

The council discussed a variance to the noise ordinance with a proposal from a contractor to conduct pavement milling during the DOT Street Project in the overnight hours of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The council discussed residential noise concerns with this work taking place at night. The council approved to not allow pavement milling to take place overnight.

The council also discussed budget matters and department requests prior to going into closed session to discuss re-opening the collective bargaining agreement  with Chauffeurs, Teamsters and Helpers Union Local No. 238 regarding Waukon Police Department wages.

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