Lansing City Council approves Fiscal Year 2024 budget, discusses variety of Parks and Recreation items

by Julie Berg-Raymond

After a public hearing during its regular meeting Monday, April 17, the Lansing City Council approved the budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024. No written or verbal comments were made to City Hall. The council also scheduled a special meeting for Monday, May 22, at 6:30 p.m. in Lansing City Hall, to discuss the possibility of hiring a city manager. The meeting is open to the public.

Lupita Solis, bilingual advocate with Riverview Center in Decorah, presented the council with a Proclamation for the month of April 2023 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. After Mayor Melissa Hammell read aloud the proclamation, it was approved by the council. The proclamation reads as follows:

“Whereas, sexual assault affects women, children and men of all racial, cultural and economic backgrounds; and in addition to the immediate physical and emotional costs, sexual assault may also have associated consequences of post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, depression, homelessness, eating disorders and suicide; and sexual assault can be devastating not only to the survivor, but also for the family, friends, and community of the survivor; and since no one person, organization, agency, or community can eliminate sexual assault on their own, we must work together to educate our entire population about what can be done to prevent sexual assault, support survivors and their significant others, and support those agencies providing services to survivors. Now therefore, I, the mayor of Lansing, Iowa, in and for the City of Lansing, on behalf of all staff and citizens of Lansing, do hereby proclaim the month of April 2023 as ‘Sexual Assault Awareness Month’ in Lansing, Iowa, and encourage all citizens to learn more about preventing sexual violence.”

Lupita Solis and Riverview Center can be contacted by calling 563-231-1472, emailing or visiting its website at

The council approved hiring an engineer for the Platt Street Project. The project consists of replacing water and sewer lines on Platt Street from 3rd Street to Diagonal and from North 4th Street up to Platt. In addition, there will a sewer line replaced from 5th Street to 4th Street in the alley behind the grocery store. Given the magnitude of this project, the council had previously approved hiring Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission to assist in writing a grant through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). To be eligible for up to a $500,000 grant, with the City being responsible for 55 percent of the project cost, the council first needed to authorize the hiring of an engineer for the project. Notices of the project will be sent to at least three potential engineers.

Following up on the council having voted several weeks earlier to conduct background checks and a drug test on anyone 18 and older hired for the pool and summer rec (in keeping with the requirements for City employees), the Parks Board asked the council during the April 17 meeting if it would consider putting a clause in the code of conduct for summer employees. The requested clause would note that employees could be tested if there was suspected drug or alcohol use but would drop the employment contingency. The council voted to add the clause to the code of conduct, but to still enforce the test as a condition of employment.
In other Parks business, the council approved purchasing eight extra jerseys, for $54, in case kids forget theirs; reimbursing Denise Mauss $220 for the baseball clinic; and paying $125 for the shipping costs of pool furniture. These three items will be paid for out of the remaining Lansing RAGBRAI grant funds the Parks Board received.

Lynne David, who has led the women’s water aerobics program at the city pool for 12 years, addressed the council to review the mission of the program for the upcoming summer. The program is held Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 5 to 6 p.m.
David said the workout is based on the Arthritis Foundation’s exercise program. “(We’re) there to keep the joints and body working. Our mantra is cool off, socialize and exercise a little.” All genders are welcome, she noted; and young adults are welcome, as well. “Everyone works at their own pace; listen to your body and follow your doctor’s orders,” she said.

David said the program had eight to 10 new participants last season and said the “Puppy Paddle” on Labor Day was also well attended. Donations received were given to the pool fund. It was the third year the pool season ended with the event, she said, and noted that more than 20 people and dogs attended. She thanked the council, the Parks and Rec department, and pool managers and guards for accommodating the program’s schedule and for opening just for them at the end of the season.

David asked about the heater, saying it was “erratic.” She also asked for one lane-rope to be set up from the shallow end to the deep end to accommodate a lap swimmer and added that private lessons and lap swimmers aren’t problems during class. “The cost has been $5 forever,” she said – or five visits for $20. Parks and Rec mentioned they were re-evaluating fees, she added. She said that since some seniors don’t come all the time because of budgets, she thought donations could be collected to help them. City Clerk Katie Becker said to send them to her, and she could make an arrangement so they could go all the time.

PeopleService Representative Duane Estebo reported that in March, Alliant donated a fire hydrant to the City that it did not use. Estebo noted it will be used as a replacement on Walnut Street.

Estebo reported that March 4 there was an issue with long run times at the 4th Street lift station. “Heath and Coady worked on this to try and fix it,” he reported. “It was determined that one of the check valves failed.” March 15, Quality Pump came and replaced the bad check valve. March 7, the department jetted the City Hall line and also flushed Dodge Street behind the school and South 5th Street. March 9, brush was cleared along the right of way behind Severson’s and the factory. March 15, the department started the chlorine gas for the discharge at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

“This is required by the DNR to be chlorinated from March 15 through November 15 each year,” Estebo reported. Finally, Estebo reported that “during March, when I found out about the Ryan property being up for sale, I have been looking into solutions for the sewer line for new homes on Wall Street.” He determined that the property owners could hook up to a two-inch sewer line in the street if they purchased a grinder pump.

The council also approved water/sewer forgiveness at 130 Valley Street for $34.

In other business, the council approved liquor license renewals for Fajitas Grill, TJ Hunter’s Banquet Hall and the Tiki Bar. The council also approved Resolution No. 984 Plat of Survey for Rethwisch, and approved Resolution No. 985 Waiving the Right to Review Subdivision for Mulholland.