Waukon City Council approves third and final reading of ordinance increasing wastewater utility service charges, discusses tennis court project funding needs and library roof

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday, May 6 to address a full agenda of items including the Third and Final Reading of the Wastewater Utility Service Charge Increase, discussion of Robey Memorial Library roof issues and tennis court project funding.

After the meeting was called to order, two public hearings were individually held. The first was for Budget Amendment #1 for Fiscal-Year-Ending (FYE) June 30, 2019 and the other for the designation of an expanded revitalization “area” and the adoption of an amended plan for such area. City Clerk Lana Snitker indicated that no written or verbal comment was received for either public hearing and there was no comment from the public in attendance. Both hearings were then closed.

There was no Public Comment and the meeting moved into Departmental Reports with Street Superintendent Keith Burrett discussing bids received for a replacement pick-up truck which the council agreed would be added to the next meeting agenda. Burrett discussed that security camera footage from the City’s compost site has resulted in a littering fine for a Waukon resident who left garbage at the site, rather than brush.

Water and Sewer Superintendent Jim Cooper discussed that hydrants have recently been flushed and that a sewer camera demonstration has been scheduled for Wednesday of this week. Cooper and the council discussed the potential hiring of summer help for the Water and Sewer Department.

Park and Recreation Wellness Director Jeremy Strub indicated that 50 trees have been planted at the Waukon City Park and camping area, replacing trees that have been removed. He also said that youth soccer recently began and the end of Summer Recreation sign-up is quickly approaching. Strub provided an update on the swimming pool with water to be added by the end of the week.

Under Regular Business, the council and Mayor Pat Stone discussed the West Main Street sewer repair involving 120 feet of storm sewer with two intake boxes to be addressed following a collapse. The council approved to move forward with the sewer repair.

The council approved the Resolution for Budget Amendment #1 for FYE June 30, 2019 and routine financial matters including the Resolution transferring $295,930.00 from the TIF Fund to the Debt Service Fund for principal/interest payments on General Obligation Bonds and the Resolution transferring $8,365.00 from the TIF Fund to the Debt Service Fund for the principal/interest payments on the Fire Station Loan.

The Resolution proposing disposition of interest in real property by the City of Waukon was approved. This matter involves the former Veterans Memorial Hospital (VMH) Clinic in Monona and the proposal from Medical Associates/Mercy Family Care Network, LLC to purchase the building at a cost of $125,500.00. A public hearing on this proposal is scheduled for the May 20 council meeting.

The 2019 Sidewalk Project Consultant agreement for engineering and surveying services was approved. The next agenda item also involved the Walk-On Waukon group’s 2019 Sidewalk Project with the Resolution ordering detailed plans, specifications, notice of hearing, notice to bidders and form of contract being approved. Following discussion relating to the second portion of this agenda item, the Resolution approving detailed plans and specifications, notice of hearing, notice to bidders and form of contract was approved.

The Resolution relating to Street Lighting was approved. This matter will allow Alliant Energy to move forward with the installation of a LED light and light pole at the south end of 12th Street NW.

The third and final reading of the Ordinance increasing wastewater utility service charges was approved following discussion of the new wastewater treatment plant construction project and cost. Council member Arvid Hatlan voted against the measure indicating that he was elected to vote on behalf of taxpayers and expressed concerns with the rate increase.

Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker provided an update on the Allamakee County Hazard Mitigation Plan which was approved last year and will be reviewed annually with each city within the county. Snitker discussed this five-year plan, ongoing projects being worked on by the City and advised that emergency sirens may be eligible for a grant opportunity.

Strub addressed the next agenda item involving tennis court funding by the City. Strub provided an overview of the fundraising completed thus far with approximately $164,000.00 raised through donations and grant opportunities for the tennis court project. Strub indicated that the bid received for the project was higher than the original estimated cost with lighting options discussed as an area where costs could be reduced. Hatlan suggested that it is not strange that only one bid was received due to the nature of the project.

City Manager Dean Hilgerson advised that due to the current robust economy, contractors do not have a shortage of projects or work, thus impacting the bidding process as well. Council member John Ellingson discussed the previous tennis court, being a strong supporter of this project and that tennis is an activity that is missed in Waukon. The council discussed funding options for the remaining $50,941.00 necessary to complete the project. The council approved to fund the remaining cost using TIF as a funding source.

The council approved the request from the Spring Avenue Pub to block off a portion of the parking area in front of the business May 18 from 12-5 p.m. for a motorcycle event benefiting Toys for Tots.

Coordinator Ardie Kuhse with Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) provided an update on the Plaza redesign project indicating that further discussion will be taking place at the WEDC meeting scheduled for Wednesday. Kuhse indicated that discussion relating to the LED sign in the Plaza will also take place.

Library Director Cate St. Clair with Robey Memorial Library discussed the engagement of an engineer to inspect the library roof. St. Clair indicated that there have been some concerns with the five-year old steel shingle roof resulting from what may be workmanship issues. The council approved to move forward with an inspection by a forensic engineer.

The Mayo Clinic leasehold plat request was reviewed by the council and approved. City Attorney Jim Garrett provided an overview of the plat request involving a reconfiguration of a parking area.

Jane Regan with Upper Iowa Insurance Services discussed subcontractor liability insurance requirements for the Wastewater Treatment Plant Project. Ron Curtin and Jeremy Curtin with Tri-State Doors expressed concerns relating to insurance costs as a subcontractor involved in a limited portion of the project. Hilgerson discussed researching this matter with the consensus of several engineering firms being that the general contractor needs to be covered with subcontractors under contract to the general contractor. The matter was tabled by the council.

Hilgerson provided a report on recent decisions by the Board of Adjustment. Mayor Pat Stone provided a recommendation to appoint Keith Bakkum to the Board of Adjustment for a term to expire December 31, 2023, which was approved by the council.

The 2019 Street Maintenance Project agenda item was discussed by Hilgerson and the council. Following some discussion, the council agreed to accept proposals on the Second Street NW resurfacing or maintenance project.

The council approved the Fiscal-Year 2019-Fiscal-Year 2020 audit proposals following a recommendation to continue with the current auditing firm from City Clerk Lana Snitker. Hilgerson also discussed options relating to the State Revolving Fund (SRF) special water quality projects including permeable pavement and options relating to drainage in several different locations within the community.

The council approved to move forward with the purchase of eight cellular capable iPad Pro 11” tablets with otterbox protectors for use by council members and department heads. Waukon Police Chief Phil Young provided an update on the hiring process to fill officer vacancies in the department.

The proposed Nuisance Abatement Officer position was discussed. Hilgerson provided an update on nuisance abatement activities completed by current staff.

Prior to adjournment, the council approved to move forward with upper level City Hall window replacement at a cost of $7,300.00 involving brick work and glass block windows.

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