Waukon City Council discusses financing options for wastewater treatment plant, conducts budget review in special session

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in special session Monday, January 14 to address several matters including loan financing for the new wastewater treatment plant, budget review and a strategy meeting in closed session to discuss collective bargaining regarding Waukon Police Department wages.

Council members agreed to adjust the order of agenda items with Managing Director Travis Squires of Piper Jaffray and Co. not yet in attendance due to weather-related travel conditions. The council immediately moved into closed session for approximately a half hour to discuss strategy involving the reopening of collective bargaining with Chauffeurs, Teamsters and Helpers Union Local No. 238 regarding Waukon Police Department wages.

With the arrival of Squires, the council moved into the next agenda item involving the State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan financing for the new wastewater treatment plant. Squires provided an overview of three options for financing the $12,000,000 estimated cost of the project based upon a 20-year debt service payment plan while answering questions from the council. The options discussed involved Sewer Revenue Bonds through the SRF Program with the third option including a portion of the financing to include General Obligation Bonds through the SRF Program to be paid with Tax Increment Financing (TIF). Following a lengthy discussion, Squires indicated that he would provide some additional figures relating to a potential variation or fourth option based upon feedback from the council.

The council moved into budget review by discussing requests from various departments. Council member Gayle Decker proposed that the Police Department put its fuel purchase out to bid to see if there is an opportunity for cost savings. It was discussed that collectively other City departments could do the same with potential fleet discounts as a possibility. Waukon Police Department requests related to firearms, computer upgrades and a K-9 program were mentioned.

Concerns related to Veterans Memorial Hospital (VMH) and ambulance services financials were discussed. A proposal related to the former Tierney building located on the southwest corner of Main Street’s intersection with Spring Avenue from Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) was addressed with other potential options and uses for the building additionally discussed. Tablets were proposed as a method to reduce paper usage and associated costs for the mayor and council.

A budget increase for Robey Memorial Library salaries and Waukon Municipal Airport expenses was discussed. Council members were in agreement that representatives of various departments and entities will be involved in budget discussions and review moving forward by presenting information and providing clarification to the council.

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