Lansing City Council hosts public Hazard Mitigation Meeting, agrees to purchase EV charging station for electric vehicles

by Julie Berg-Raymond

During the Lansing City Council’s regular meeting Monday, December 19, Michelle Barness from Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission (UERPC) and Corey Snitker, Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator, conducted a public meeting on the Allamakee County Hazard Mitigation Plan.
In their presentation, “hazard mitigation” was defined as 1) “actions taken to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from natural or manmade hazards and their effects; and 2) “breaking the cycle of damage, reconstruction, and repeated damage.” The emphasis, they noted, is on “taking action now - before the next disaster.”

Laying out Lansing’s Hazard Profile, Barness identified the city’s hazards in terms of risk assessments determined by the Hazard Mitigation Committee. Defined as “high risk” are flash flood; river flood; infrastructure failure; transportation incident; and hazardous materials. Identified as “medium risk” are drought; tornadoes; human disease; animal/plant/crop disease; windstorms; hailstorm; winter storm; and mental health. Identified as “low risk” are dam/levee failure; landslides; thunderstorm/lightning; extreme heat; and sinkholes.

Barness and Snitker noted that risk is determined by considering probability and damage impact. While sinkholes, for example, have a high probability, they have a low damage impact. Likewise, landslides - while having a high probability, are considered “low risk” in this assessment because of the relatively low damage impact/property damage.

Tornadoes, on the other hand - while carrying the potential for significant damage impact - have a low probability (12 have been recorded in the local area in the last 150-plus years).

At the conclusion of the presentation, Barness listed hazard mitigation actions Lansing discussed in 2018:  1) participate in Allamakee County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) efforts to create a countywide shelter plan to identify locations and prioritize needs for shelters; 2) support Allamakee County EMA initiative to form a countywide volunteer group to serve residents with various needs during storm or emergency events; 3) participate in the Allamakee County EMA effort to create a Rail Response Plan to prepare for the possibility of a rail accident; identify landslide-prone areas, and consider creation of an overlay district or other zoning requirement to better protect against landslides; maintain/improve emergency responder equipment and training; educate the public about landslide potential and building and development precautions to avoid landslide incidents in landslide-prone zones. Outreach may be in the form of a community newsletter, public meeting, or other; participation in National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP); additional back-up generators for utility services, and for shelter sites.

Discussion will continue on these matters in future council meetings.

The council approved the purchase of an Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station (Charge Point) from LilyPad EV, of Martinez, CA, for $10,994.76. The cost will be covered by the VW Settlement Grant awarded to the City in July of 2022. (The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency alleged in 2016 that Volkswagen violated Clean Air Act standards with vehicles sold between 2009 and 2016 that were equipped with devices that were designed to perform differently during normal vehicle operation than during emission tests. VW agreed to settle some of the allegations with the creation of the Environmental Mitigation Trust. Lansing was among the communities awarded funding by the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) during the third funding cycle for projects from the mitigation fund -

November 11: A water main broke in front of 411 Bench Street. It was Veterans Day, and the Street Department had the day off; they were called in to help. November 22 and 23: Five water valve tops around town were fixed. The department’s new Kerf cutter was used to cut down a portion of the top piece which was replaced with an insert that sits at or below grade. This will prevent the top from getting damaged or broken from the snowplows. This work requires no digging, no water valve box replacement, and no concrete work to repair the street.

November 1: The clarifiers at the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) were cleaned. November 3: The department helped to reset manholes at 5th and Center Streets and at 3rd and Diagonal. This was done to lower them to grade, to prevent damage from and to the snowplows. November 9: With assistance from the street department, grease was vacuumed out of the Ball Diamond Lift Station. November 10: When opening WWTP, it was discovered that Compressor No. 1 was not operating. After investigation, it was determined that a regulator had failed. This had kicked out the compressor. A new regulator was ordered and put into place.

Council member Lisa Welsh told the council that she attended a meeting of the School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC), where she learned about the committee’s efforts to open a childcare facility in Allamakee County. At this point, a location in New Albin is being considered.
The next regular meeting of the Lansing City Council is scheduled for Monday, January 9. The meeting would have been held Monday, January 2, but the New Year’s holiday is officially observed that day. The meeting would then have been moved to Tuesday, January 3, but scheduling conflicts required the meeting be moved to Monday, January 9.