Waukon City Council gives approval to begin search for new City Manager

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday, May 20 to address a full agenda of items including the search for a new City Manager, the proclamation of May 24 and May 25, 2019 as American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Days and discussion of consultation fees for former City employees.

The Public Hearing for the proposed disposition of interest in real property by the City of Waukon was opened with City Clerk Lana Snitker indicating that no written or verbal comments have been received. This hearing is related to the sale of the Monona clinic property to Medical Associates/Mercy Family Care Network, LLC for the sum of $125,500.00. The Public Hearing was closed.

The council moved into Public Comment with Dan Denk of Waukon discussing requirements for a cul de sac near a property he is planning to purchase. Joe Cunningham of Waukon discussed several matters relating to sidewalks, streets and tree removal.

Under Department Head Updates, Assistant Police Chief Paul Wagner indicated that the Special Traffic Enforcement Program (SteP) has begun and that 8-10 lawn notices have been served. He also provided an update on the purchase of replacement firearms for the Waukon Police Department.

Street Superintendent Keith Burrett discussed that trees are being looked at throughout the city with several ash trees likely needing to be removed due to their health. Water and Sewer Superintendent Jim Cooper provided an update on the work to be done on the north water tower.

Park and Rec Wellness Director Jeremy Strub indicated that Youth Soccer is wrapping up with Adult Softball beginning for the summer. Strub provided an update on the preparations being made at the swimming pool and discussed the Music in the Park schedule with various music performances to take place Wednesday evenings at the City Park’s amphitheater between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

City Manager Dean Hilgerson discussed the State Revolving Fund (SRF) special water project and suggested looking at options other than permeable pavement. Hilgerson provided an update on the DOT Street Project and discussed the need to review some matters relating to the vegetative nuisance ordinance that may be in conflict with one another.

Under Regular Business, the council approved the Resolution approving the sale of the Monona Clinic property addressed in the public hearing earlier in the meeting. The Resolution establishing the Library Building Maintenance Fund was approved. The Resolution agreeing to transfer $6,620.53 from the Library Expansion Fund to the Library Building Maintenance Fund and to close out the Library Expansion Fund was approved.

The council discussed the Resolution agreeing to transfer $5,500.00 from the General Fund to the Ambulance Trust Fund. Council member Gayle Decker indicated that there is not a signed 28E agreement with the communities served by Veterans Memorial Hospital’s ambulance service with approximately 11 other ambulances within the county. The transfer was approved by the council with Decker voting against the measure.

The Resolution agreeing to transfer $3,658.64 from the TIF Fund to the Debt Service Fund for the City’s equalization interest payment due June 1, 2019 to the County (per agreement) for the Waukon Area Fire Station was approved. The Resolution consenting to the assignment of Trustee Agent Agreements, Escrow Agent Agreements and/or Paying Agent and Registrar and Transfer Agent Agreements was approved.

Two financial matters were individually reviewed and approved under the next agenda item involving the Resolution authorizing internal advance to the Tax Increment Sub Fund. An advance of $504.00 for the payment of administrative costs and an advance of $50,941.10 for the payment of tennis court construction costs were approved.

The council approved June 17 as the date for the public hearing on the Southeast Urban Renewal Plan Amendment and June 3 as the date for the public hearing on plans and specifications for the Tennis Court Project.

The Resolution approving the 28E agreement with the school district for tennis courts was approved. As part of this agreement, the school district has agreed to contribute to the cost of construction with an assurance of long-term availability of use for physical education and athletic programs.

The Resolution proposing disposition of interest in real property by the City of Waukon was approved. This matter involves the sale of Lot 8 in the West Side Development to Justin and Breanna Sommer at a price of $20,000.00.

The Wastewater Treatment Plant Project Change Order 1 was reviewed and approved by the Council. The change order involves a correction made by Wapasha Construction Co. Inc with a reduction in hot mix asphalt (HMA) pavement. The Pay Application 1 for this same project was approved.

Mayor Pat Stone read aloud the proclamation of May 24 and May 25, 2019 as American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Days which encourages all citizens to pay tribute to those who have given their lives defending our freedom in war, by wearing the Memorial Poppy. The council approved the Poppy Proclamation.

Jane Saddler-Punelli addressed the council to dispute a nuisance abatement fee. She indicated that the dog kennel at this property was properly cleaned out prior to moving away. Hilgerson indicated that a notice was served and cleaning moved forward due to six to eight inches of animal waste within the kennel. City Attorney Jim Garrett further discussed that with the spring thaw, a complaint was filed by an adjoining property owner due to seepage from the kennel affecting their property. Garrett indicated that under State Code and City Code, the ordinance is notice and moving forward with the cleaning was appropriate and lawful. No action was taken by the council.

Jane Regan with Upper Iowa Insurance Services provided an overview of subcontractor liability insurance requirements for the Wastewater Treatment Plant Project. Regan indicated that subcontractors need to have the same level of coverage as the general contractor on this project.

Regan also addressed the next agenda item involving the Plaza project redesign by discussing the recent Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Board meeting where the consensus was to move forward with the project. Regan indicated that the WEDC Board agreed to move the LED sign from the Plaza with several possible alternate locations being discussed. Regan indicated that WEDC has agreed to move forward in seeking engineering and designs for a new look for the Plaza. The council approved to move forward in seeking requests for proposals (RFP).

Cunningham discussed the Fifth Street SW Park Place street development indicating that this street expansion would allow the development of three additional lots. Cunningham and the council discussed the funding of this project. The council approved to have Fehr-Graham Engineering prepare a proposal on this project.

Cooper discussed the potential use of consultation fees and the value of information provided by former Water and Sewer Superintendent Bob Campbell. Cooper indicated that Campbell has been a valuable resource and should be compensated for his time providing information that has saved time and money for the City. Cooper indicated that Campbell would prefer to have a written agreement with the City. Council member John Ellingson discussed the value of Campbell’s experience and intellectual property. Hilgerson recommended that it would be advisable to have Campbell on retainer. Cooper agreed to continue the discussion with Campbell.

The council approved an increase to the cost of the City Hall windows project from $7,300, as previously approved, to $7,980 to cover additional upper level window openings that are being changed to glass block windows.

Burrett discussed the low bid of $13,249.60 received from Prairie Road Builders, Inc. of Hazleton for the chip seal and street maintenance of Second Street NW, which was approved by the council. Senior Project Manager Lyle TeKippe with Fehr Graham Engineering discussed street maintenance options. Decker and Ellingson discussed the need for street projects with assessments rather than street maintenance as temporary fixes.

Burrett discussed the next agenda item involving the Street Department Fiscal-Year 2020 purchase of a pick-up truck. The council approved the low bid of $36,000 from R.W. Pladsen for a 3/4-ton pick-up.

Cooper discussed the need for Water and Sewer Department summer help and provided a recommendation to advertise a temporary summer position at $8.50 per hour and 25 hours per week to include mowing responsibilities. The council approved to advertise the position.

The council discussed the recommendation for wage increases for non-union departmental employees, opting to table the matter for discussion to continue at the June 3 council meeting. Mayor Stone provided a recommendation to appoint Ben Sweeney to the Planning and Zoning Commission, which was approved by the council.

The council moved into discussion relating to the search for a City Manager. Hilgerson indicated that he will fulfill the remainder of his contract, which ends August 14 of this year. Council members and Department Heads discussed the experience and knowledge that Hilgerson has brought to the City Manager position with his effective decision making and communication skills being assets to the City. The council was in agreement that the search for a full-time City Manager will start immediately.

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