Waukon City Council accepts bids on storm water quality improvement project, approves pretreatment manual

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday, May 2 to address a full agenda of items including the Public Hearing for the Proposed Contract Documents and Estimated Costs for the Storm Water Quality Improvements Project, discussion of an Industrial and Commercial Pretreatment Manual and discussion of the 7th Avenue SE and 4th Street SE Sidewalk Project.

There was no Public Comment and the meeting moved into Department Reports with Park, Recreation and Wellness Director Jeremy Strub providing an update. Strub discussed being in the second week of the youth soccer program and that water has been turned on in the City Park and campground. He added that water will be turned on at the swimming pool later this week with chemicals to be added as temperatures warm up.

Water and Sewer Superintendent Jim Cooper advised that bile solid hauling started last week with hydrant flushing to begin Tuesday, May 3. Cooper added that the sewer jetting maintenance program has begun as well.

Street Superintendent Keith Burrett noted that the street sweeper is currently in Des Moines being repaired. He said that the truck on order with Truck Country of Dubuque has arrived on their lot with some fabrication and plow installation yet to take place. Burrett noted that this truck is a 2023 model year and not the 2022 as originally agreed upon. Inventory, supply chain and inflationary factors were discussed by Burrett and the council with Burrett adding that there is an approximate $7,000 price increase. The consensus of the council was to move forward with the purchase rather than losing the department’s place in line for this purchase and experiencing further delays on this necessary equipment with costs continuing to rise.

Police Chief Paul Wagner reported that all of the officers are attending a free search and seizure training online in keeping up with changing laws. He discussed meeting with City Manager Gary Boden recently in regard to planning taking place in preparation for the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) with Waukon being a pass-through community during this year’s event in late July. Wagner advised that he will be meeting again later this week regarding RAGBRAI planning with Boden and City Clerk Sarah Snitker.

Wagner further noted that enforcement relating to property maintenance and junk vehicles will resume. He added that he wants to remind residents about the large item garbage pick-up taking place this Saturday, May 7 (see ad on this same page for details). Council member Arvid Hatlan questioned whether the vehicle enforcement would include vehicles at repair shops that have sat unregistered for three to four years. Boden discussed the process and notification required by State law. Boden advised that last year the City was successful in removing some vehicles, with these efforts to continue.

Assistant City Attorney Kevin Stinn noted that he would provide feedback on matters listed later in the agenda. Stinn made note of the council approving the appointment of Assistant City Attorney Luke Meinholz as part of the consent agenda approved at the beginning of Monday’s meeting. Stinn introduced Meinholz as a new attorney with the Swartz Law Firm and discussed his role as an additional assistant city attorney.

City Manager Gary Boden also reported that he will be addressing matters later in the agenda. Boden noted that Library Director Cate St. Clair of Robey Memorial Library would not be providing a report following the recent birth of a child.

Mayor Pat Stone discussed attending a recent RAGBRAI meeting with volunteers being needed. Stone advised that those interested in volunteering should contact the Waukon Chamber of Commerce or City Hall.

The Public Hearing for the Proposed Contract Documents and Estimated Costs for Improvement for Storm Water Quality Improvements Project was opened and closed, with Snitker indicating that no comments have been received.

The Resolution Finally Approving and Confirming Plans, Specifications and Form of Contract and Awarding Contract for Storm Water Quality Improvements Project was next addressed by Engineer Paige Pierce of Fehr Graham Engineering. Pierce provided an overview of the low bids received for the storm water quality improvement projects within and to the north of Waukon City Park. She noted that the first contract is for wetland earth work with Aaron Crane Construction, the second contract is for permeable pavement, bioretention cell and check dams with Skyline Construction, and the third contract is for native planting and bioretention hillside work with Riehm Construction.

Pierce further spoke of the $1.25 million in grant funding that has been awarded for these projects with the low bidders being approximately one-percent over that amount with $17,305 being the cost to the City of Waukon if the three lowest bids are accepted. The council approved the Resolution and to accept the three bids as recommended.

The meeting moved into the Resolution Awarding the Private Placement of General Obligation Corporate Purpose Bonds, Series 2022. Boden discussed the bidding process and the results received thus far. He provided a recommendation to authorize continued negotiations to take place. Via Zoom web-conferencing, Managing Director Travis Squires of Piper Sandler discussed the negotiation process with feedback from local and national investment firms being received. Squires recommended that City Manager Gary Boden and Finance Director Lana Snitker be allowed to negotiate terms. Boden presented a 2.76 percent rate not to be exceeded as negotiations continue. The council approved to move forward with the recommendation from Squires.

Discussion about the Industrial and Commercial Pretreatment Manual was the next matter addressed by the council with Dr. Ed Askew, PhD with Askew Scientific Consulting providing feedback via Zoom web-conferencing. Askew advised that city code needs to be updated to address industrial pretreatment with National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to be enforced. Askew noted that the proposed manual should be provided to all industries to allow the City to regulate and enforce in a clear and concise manner according to the manual, allowing for updates as necessary with enforcement under city code. Cooper added that the manual is a useful tool for all current and new industries, will speed up the fine process and protects the new Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Stinn added that Askew and Cooper have provided the technical information in order for the City’s ordinance to be updated. Stinn advised that work will be performed in establishing an enforcement response plan and, depending on the severity of issue or consistency of violation, whether litigation will be pursued. The council approved the Industrial and Commercial Pretreatment Manual.

The meeting moved into the Audit Presentation with CPA Jennifer Hennessy of Hacker Nelson & Co. providing an overview of the audit results. Hennessy advised that the audit process went well and provided feedback on several specifics and recommendations. The council approved the audit report from Hacker Nelson & Co.

Jim Bieber with Bieber Insurance and Real Estate provided an overview of the City’s insurance renewal. Bieber advised that building valuations have increased by seven percent with building contents being increased by three percent to match cost increases being seen in the current inflationary cycle, making sure the City is insured to value. Bieber discussed premium increases being seen statewide and provided specifics relating to cyber liability and motor vehicle coverage. The council approved the insurance renewal.

The meeting moved into discussion of the 7th Avenue SE and 4th Street SE Sidewalk Project. Boden advised that a $100,000 grant application being pursued for this project has been denied. He noted that there is a $400,000 estimate for the project with the City committing or earmarking $300,000. Brooke Troendle with Walk-On Waukon requested the continued support of the City relating to the project. The council discussed options to reduce costs or modify the project. Following discussion, the council approved to table the matter and for the sidewalk project funds to remain in that account.

City Clerk Sarah Snitker addressed the next matter relating to Tyler Software update quotes. Snitker provided an overview of the two quotes received including the finance software necessary for the integration of the new remote read water meters. The second quote relates to the contract allowing for online bill payment options. Following discussion, the council approved to move forward with the finance software with more information to be requested relating to online bill payment.

Stinn addressed the next matter relating to a tobacco retailer sales to minor check failure. Stinn said that he received a letter last month relating to a tobacco check failure resulting from the sale of tobacco to someone under the age of 21 at a retailer in Waukon. Stinn advised that the City has the option to pursue a fine against the retailer as a municipal infraction or to have the State of Iowa Attorney General prosecute the matter. Following discussion, the council approved to have the State of Iowa Attorney General prosecute the matter.

Boden discussed a new electrical service quote and asphalt maintenance quotes for the Waukon Municipal Airport. He noted that some extensive electrical work is necessary with Blake Electric providing a quote for the full installation cost for this project. Boden and the council discussed quotes received for asphalt maintenance and repairs of the airport runway. The council was in agreement to table the asphalt maintenance quotes with itemized bids to be requested from bidders to allow for a more accurate comparison of the proposals. The council approved to move forward with the electrical service quote from Blake Electric.

Wagner provided an overview of the next agenda item relating to a contract with Taser & Axon Body Cameras. He discussed the five-year contract option with this company to include eight tasers, training, cartridges, body cameras, batteries, docking stations and cloud storage for data. The council approved to enter into the contract.

Prior to adjournment, the meeting moved into discussion of the City Code of Ordinances with Boden providing feedback on the matter. Boden recommended that an ad hoc committee be established to review and provide recommendations for updates to City Code that better reflect the roles and procedures currently in place. Boden clarified that an ad hoc committee can only have up to two council members involved. Boden and City Clerk Sarah Snitker said that they would be part of the ad hoc committee with participation from the City’s legal counsel. In addition, council members John Lydon and Steve Wiedner agreed to be part of the committee. No official action was taken relating to this matter.