Waukon City Council discusses damage to 16th Avenue SW, working with local high school industrial technology classes to create new downtown garbage containers, among other items

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Tuesday, September 3 following the closure of Waukon City Hall Monday, September 2 in observance of the Labor Day holiday. The council addressed a full agenda of items including downtown trash cans, paint repair of the north water tower and street damage at 16th Avenue NW.

The Public Hearing on the proposed modifications of permitted uses on conditionally rezoned real estate for property located at 808 Fifth Avenue SW was opened and closed. City Clerk Lana Snitker indicated that no written or verbal comments have been received.

During Public Comment, resident and housing contractor Justin Piggott requested that the City look into the parking situation by a property at 208 Sixth Street NW. Under Departmental Reports, Assistant Police Chief Paul Wagner provided an update on testing completed by officer candidates with four individuals recently passing.

Street Superintendent Keith Burrett reported that the First and Second Avenue NE storm sewer project was approximately one-third complete and that a new pick-up for the Street Department had recently arrived. Burrett advised that the Street Department is back on a five-day, eight-hour work schedule and that bids will be received for the removal of two cottonwood trees on Fifth Avenue SW within the boulevard. Burrett indicated that the cottonwood trees have surpassed their average lifespan and require removal.

Water and Sewer Superintendent Jim Cooper indicated that two sewer leaks were found and were the responsibility of property owners. He advised that a demonstration for a new sewer camera has been scheduled.

Park and Rec Wellness Director Jeremy Strub advised that the swimming pool has been drained and that fall sports have begun including youth volleyball and football. Strub reported that the Music in the Park events have concluded for the summer and that a 1993 Ford Ranger is no longer being used by the Park and Recreation Department.

City Manager Dean Hilgerson discussed that this will be his final City Council meeting and that he will be spending time working with new City Manager Gary Boden as part of this transition. Hilgerson indicated that the asphalt overlay and repair as part of the Department of Transportation (DOT) Street Project are projected to be finished by Friday, September 13. Hilgerson reported that notices are being mailed relating to how new sidewalks are to be treated for ice removal during the winter months.

The item relating to downtown trash cans and pricing options was moved up on the meeting agenda. The council and Industrial Technology teacher Caleb Ferring discussed the possibility of having a Waukon High School Industrial Technology class construct metal trash containers instead of ordering them from a manufacturer. Ferring indicated that he would prepare a cost estimate to be presented at the October 7 council meeting. Council members Arvid Hatlan and Ben Rausch agreed to work with Burrett, Ferring and Director Ardie Kuhse of Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) in finalizing a design.

The third and final reading of the Ordinance amending the Code of Ordinances reducing the number of members of the Municipal Tree Board from seven to three was approved. The first reading of the Ordinance eliminating restrictions on conditionally rezoned real estate located at 808 Fifth Avenue SW was also approved. Resolution #3481 temporarily closing Second Street SW for gas pressure testing was approved as well. The council also approved the Resolution to invest in Boden’s ICMA-RC retirement plan.

The proposed interim agreement with City Manager Boden was approved. The council then moved into the discussion of Gayle and Carol Decker’s sewer portion of a utility bill. Council member Gayle Decker recused himself as a council member and discussed his request to have the council waive a portion of his utility bill relating to water used in watering sod that was part of the DOT Street and Sidewalk Project. Decker presented information including an average based on billing prior to the sod placement and further suggested that the extra water used in watering sod was therefore not treated in the wastewater treatment plant. The council approved to waive the requested sewer portion of Decker’s utility bill in the amount of $297.25. The council further discussed that the public will be notified that meters are available through the Water and Sewer Department to monitor water use for this type of purpose.

Executive Director Cathy Taylor with Good Samaritan Society-Waukon presented information relating to angle parking indicating that four angle parking spots have been proposed along First Street SE adjacent to the facility, with one being a loading and unloading zone. Following discussion with the council, the matter was tabled with City Attorney Jim Garrett requesting additional information before moving forward with an amendment to the ordinance allowing the installation of the angle parking spots.

Garrett provided an overview of the agreement relating to the paint repair of the City’s north water tower. Cooper indicated that the contractor has agreed to sign the agreement. Cooper had previously discussed the matter at the August 21 City Council meeting indicating the north water tower painting project had experienced some moisture damage, that paint samples have been sent in and that the primer is holding with the contractor creating a plan to repair damage while requesting that the paint be monitored over the next several seasons to verify the problem does not spread. The council approved the north water tower paint remediation agreement with K&W Coatings.

Garrett provided an update on the library roof and discussed that a representative from Cresco Building Services has inspected the roof with a written report to be submitted to the council upon completion. Senior Project Manager Lyle TeKippe with Fehr Graham Engineering provided an update on the Plaza Project and the council approved September 16 at 7 p.m. as the Public Hearing date on proposed contract documents and cost estimates.

Hilgerson provided an update on the DOT grant application for the airport indicating that an official confirmation has been received for the grant in the amount of $34,875. The council approved the agreement with the DOT for airport improvements.

The council moved into discussion of city code relating to the installation of water service pipes (Chapter 90.11). Cooper provided feedback on the matter and indicated that many cities have moved to using plastic pipes with a copper guide wire or tracer line to assist in location, rather than using copper pipes. The council recommended that Cooper gather additional information on plastic pipes. No action was taken on this matter.

Following discussion between the council and WEDC Board members Joe Cunningham and Howard Van Ruler, council member John Ellingson recommended tabling the agenda item relating to Second Street and 11th Avenue SW sidewalk snow removal to allow additional research and thought on the matter. Discussion on this item was tabled and rescheduled for the Monday, September 16 council meeting.

Garrett provided feedback on the next agenda item relating to street damage on 16th Avenue NW, indicating that repeated damage to the street could be considered intentional and criminal with potential civil action a possibility. Hatlan discussed damage to the street taking place over the last two weeks due to vehicle traffic beyond the legal weight limit. Ellingson recommended having the Waukon Police Department investigate the matter and to have the engineer assess damages. The council approved to have Wagner conduct an investigation with interviews relating to street damage at 16th Avenue NW with a report to be presented at the October 7 council meeting. The council also approved to have Fehr Graham Engineering conduct an inspection of the street and provide a report on the condition, damage and repair options available.

Wagner and the council discussed several matters relating to the Waukon Police Department including building renovations, a firewall and new computers. The council approved to order a firewall and have it installed. A temporary construction easement agreement for the property adjacent to the police station was approved.

Burrett discussed options available relating to the purchase of an interchangeable snow blade to be used on both the City’s tool cat and skid steer. The council approved the purchase of a 72” snow blade for $1,797.40 from Reiser Implement.

Burrett and Kuhse discussed Christmas decorations for downtown light poles. Burrett indicated that the decorations used with the previous light poles are too tall or large for the new light poles. Kuhse discussed that Executive Director Stephanie Dugan with the Waukon Chamber of Commerce has researched and provided a recommendation to purchase 33 pole-mounted 32” green wreaths with LED lights, with the council approving the purchase.

The council discussed the concept of residential zoning in the downtown area. The council approved to have the Planning and Zoning Commission discuss the concept at its next regularly scheduled meeting.

The council approved to have Travis Squires of Piper Jaffray present information on available options for refinancing the Series 2011 General Obligation Bonds, other outstanding debt and funding available for future projects. The presentation by Squires was tentatively scheduled for a special session Tuesday, September 17 at 6:30 p.m.

The agenda item relating to a volunteer cooperative weather observer was briefly discussed. Hilgerson indicated that an email was received from the National Weather Service seeking assistance in making weather observations. No action was taken by the council.

The council discussed several matters relating to the City Hall building maintenance and repairs including the upstairs, upper east section, fascia and downspouts. The council approved the proposal from R/T Seamless Gutters in the amount of $1,886 for the installation of soffit, fascia and downspouts on the upper east section of City Hall.

Mayor Pat Stone indicated that there would not be a resolution presented at the October 7 council meeting from the Personnel Committee relating to salaries and raises. The council and Cunningham discussed the agreement between WEDC and the City for lots in the West Side Development. No action was taken.

Prior to adjournment, Stone discussed an email relating to an Alliant Energy rate increase and requested that Snitker forward the email message to council members. A request to move a light pole located at Lot 1 of the West Side Development was also discussed.

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