Waukon City Council hears Allamakee County Emergency Management update

Work begins on Second Street SW ... Signs and other traffic control measures have been placed on Second Street SW in Waukon as work begins on that street improvement project that will first involve some curb and gutter work where there currently is none or where some may need to be replaced. A majority of the street, from Main Street south to the Southcrest residential area, will then have the top several inches milled off before an asphalt overlay will be put back down. Access to the street and even its crossing intersections with connecting streets/avenues will be limited - at times completely - throughout the project, which is expected to take several weeks, depending upon weather.

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday, June 7 to address a variety of matters including discussion of purchasing a police vehicle, an update from the Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator and discussion relating to the former C-Mart property.
There was no Public Comment and the council moved into Department Reports with Waukon Park and Rec Wellness Director Jeremy Strub noting that summer events are in full swing and that little league baseball and softball have started. Strub discussed staffing levels for Park and Rec and said that the Jaycee Shelter is in need of repair.

Water and Sewer Superintendent Jim Cooper discussed water usage by residents increasing with lawn watering and that the sewer tie-in to the new Wastewater Treatment Plant will take place this week or next.

Street Superintendent Keith Burrett discussed recent communications with paint dealers relating to the purchase of cross walk paint. Burrett also provided an update on tree trimming on East Main Street which was delayed by some mechanical problems and will likely be completed this week.

Police Chief Paul Wagner advised that there have been some humidity issues at the Waukon Police Station with the air exchange system. Wagner discussed a quote from a contractor for manual dampers to be installed on the air exchanger. Wagner advised that 72 percent humidity has been recorded at the Police Station and with two humidifiers running constantly, that was brought down to a mid-50 percent.

During City Manager Gary Boden’s report, Senior Project Manager Lyle TeKippe with Fehr Graham Engineering provided an update relating to curb and gutter replacement to take place on a three-block area of Second Street SW with a contractor planning to begin this process this week (see photo at top of this page). TeKippe discussed the machine used in this process with one stretch being removed at a time while working to not be disruptive to residents and property owners.

Boden and TeKippe discussed plans for this work to begin in the south portion of the street and moving north. TeKippe said that signage and traffic control measures are being brought in as preparation for the project. Boden and TeKippe discussed the project as being paid for by the City of Waukon and not assessed to property owners.

Mayor Pat Stone provided the Mayor’s Report, noting that he received a call from Tony Baxter, who would not be available to attend the June 7 council meeting. Stone relayed some of Baxter’s concerns including that the 28E agreement with the Fire Board should be reviewed and a request that Arvid Hatlan be present at meetings regularly as Treasurer and as a representative of the City Council. Stone also said that Baxter has expressed his support of a meat processing plant in Waukon.

Stone further advised that he has received feedback from residents relating to the need for a dog park in Waukon and recommended that Strub could look into this as a potential project. Stone discussed communications and discussions with Aveka and that Boden and Cooper are contacts or liaisons between the council and Aveka.

Council member John Ellingson expressed his concerns relating to Aveka and the need for the company to be held accountable. Boden responded that potential actions related to Aveka would be discussed later in the meeting during closed session.

During the City Council Report, council member Ben Rausch discussed phone calls and feedback received from residents relating to the siting process for a proposed meat processing plant. Rausch said that he reached out to some contacts in Lime Springs for feedback relating to the impact of a meat processing plant in their community with those contacts advising that, in hindsight, they would not have supported this industry to be located in their community.

Council member Gayle Decker reminded all in attendance of this process as being a preliminary search and siting process with Waukon being one of many communities being looked at as a potential location. Ellingson again expressed his opposition to a meat processing plant siting within or near Waukon, noting the burden of this industry outweighing the economic benefit.

Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker provided an update to the council. Snitker discussed a variety of matters including the County’s Hazard Mitigation Plan and Waukon specific portions of this planning. Snitker said that the current mitigation plan will expire in May 2023 with discussion to take place later in the year in preparation for updating this plan.

Snitker also discussed the Rave mobile alert system through the State of Iowa which provides increased flexibility allowing individuals to choose which types of notifications they wish to receive with multiple language options being available. Snitker noted that Rave allows for short-term opt-in for those who do not wish to receive notifications on a long-term basis, an option available during events like county fairs, as an example. Snitker said that information relating to the Rave system will be publicized.

Wagner addressed the next matter relating to discussion of purchasing a 2021 Chevy Tahoe and up-fitting of the vehicle. Wagner said that work continues relating to a USDA grant that may assist in up to 20 percent of this vehicle purchase price. Wagner requested permission to order the vehicle to be delivered and paid for after July 1 at a cost of $36,485.20 with law enforcement outfitting to cost $14,635.13. The council approved the ordering and purchase of the police vehicle.

Decker discussed the City Treasurer’s Report from May and a misclassification of an expense relating to the former McMillan property. The council approved the May 31 City Treasurer’s Report, excluding the former McMillan property duplex project expense.

Discussion took place relating to the former C-Mart property on East Main Street with Boden providing an update on the matter. Boden said that no bids have been received and that contractor availability and increased construction material costs may be obstacles faced in selling and developing the property in the current climate.

Following a brief discussion, the council agreed to table the matter to be addressed in closed session at a future meeting.

The council moved into Closed Session: Per Iowa Code Section 21.5 (1)(c) to discuss strategy with counsel in matters that are presently in litigation or where litigation is imminent  where its disclosure would be likely to prejudice or disadvantage the position of the governmental body in that litigation.

Prior to adjournment, the council moved into another Closed Session: Per Iowa Code Chapter 21.5 (1)(i) to evaluate the professional competency of an individual whose appointment, hiring, performance, or discharge is being considered when necessary, to prevent needless and irreparable injury to that individual’s reputation and that individual requests a closed session.

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