Waukon City Council discusses variety of topics at regular Monday session

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday, August 21 to address a variety of matters, including the use of the Allamakee County Courthouse as an emergency shelter, an overview of wastewater treatment facility options and the 2019 Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) Resurfacing and Sidewalk Project. Mayor Duane DeWalle called the meeting to order with approval of the current agenda and minutes from the August 7 meeting.

The Council moved into Public Comments with Coordinator Ardie Kuhse with Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) providing an overview of Waukon Corn Days, which she described as being a success and well attended including the Corn Days Parade, events downtown and at the Waukon Wellness Center.

Under Departmental Reports, Water and Sewer Superintendent Bob Campbell discussed an insurance company that has expressed interest in providing coverage to property owners for water line and sewer repairs and that the company wishes to present information to the City Council at a future meeting. Campbell also advised that the water treatment agreements with Aveka and WW Homestead Dairy are expiring next month and detailed some changes in their new agreements.

Street Superintendent Keith Burrett discussed having the Street Department’s bucket truck inspected and detailed some replacement equipment arriving this week, including a street sweeper. Waukon Police Chief Phil Young advised that the Police Department has been busy with several search warrants, along with drug arrests and charges that have been filed in relation to car thefts and car burglaries.

Mayor DeWalle introduced Dean Hilgerson, the newly hired City Manager. Hilgerson discussed keeping a log of daily activities in his office for reference and accountability. The City Council discussed the need for either a meeting or work session to establish priorities for the City Manager. Hilgerson advised that he sees securing funding for the wastewater treatment facility and street projects as top priorities.

Under Regular Business, the Council discussed the Aveka Noise and Odor agenda item. A representative of Aveka was not in attendance, with Hilgerson discussing his recent conversation with Aveka General Manager John Anderson. Hilgerson said that some additional soil testing was being done by the contractor handling the base for the Aveka smokestack extension and support structure. The Council discussed the second agenda item involving Aveka property annexation. No action was taken on either agenda item.

The Council moved into discussing land leases for City properties including the leases for John Byrnes and Steve Stortz. City Attorney Jim Garrett advised that by taking no action, the current terms of each lease will continue. No action was taken.

Garrett discussed the next agenda item involving the Collin and Lara Berryman easement, which will allow the City to have access to a 15-foot section of their property for the replacement, installation and maintenance of a section of storm sewer. Garrett indicated that a signed copy of the easement from the Berrymans had not been received but the Council could approve the easement, which was approved.

Allamakee County Emergency Management Coordinator Corey Snitker discussed that with the County Sheriff’s Department move to the Public Safety Center, there is no longer 24/7 occupancy of the County Courthouse, which is a designated emergency shelter for the mobile home courts in Waukon.

Snitker and the Council discussed fob key access to the building which could be provided to the Waukon Police Department and that tenants of these properties may need to be informed about the use of the courthouse as an emergency shelter. The Council agreed to have Snitker continue to move forward on this process. Snitker said he will provide an update in a few weeks.

The Council discussed the 2016 Trenchless Storm Sewer project, with City Clerk Allen Lyon advising that a construction meeting will be taking place August 24 and that email notices have been sent to property owners but no response has been received. Senior Project Manager Lyle TeKippe with Fehr-Graham Engineering advised that construction tentatively will begin after Labor Day, with details to be decided at the construction meeting.

The Council moved into the next agenda item, the Sanitary Collection Spot Sewer Repairs and Resolution approving Contract and Performance Bond. TeKippe advised that the contract and bond have been turned in for approval at Monday’s meeting for sanitary sewer spot repairs near Northgate to be done by Skyline Construction, Inc. of Decorah. The contract and bond were accepted by the Council.

The first reading of the Ordinance pertaining to Water Service Disconnection was approved with additional readings waived and adoption taking place. The first reading of the Ordinance pertaining to Cigarette and Tobacco Permits was approved with additional readings waived and adoption taking place.
The Resolution accepting work covering 12th Street NW and the Park Place Court Project was approved. This resolution verifies that engineers have inspected the completed work under the terms of the contract and that payment can now be made to the contractor.

The next two resolutions were combined into one vote for the ordering preparation and approval of detailed plans, specifications, notice of hearing, notice to bidders and form of contract for the First Avenue NW and Second Street NW Storm Sewer Improvement Project, which the Council approved.

Project Engineer Lucas Elsbernd with Fehr-Graham Engineering provided an overview of four different waste treatment facility options with cost estimates. Elsbernd indicated that the completion timeline for the waste treatment facility will be the end of 2019. Elsbernd discussed visiting different examples of the four types of waste treatment facilities in Iowa or surrounding states with Campbell and Council members as part of the research and decision making process.

The Council moved into discussion of the 2018 Street Improvements agenda item. TeKippe advised that he will work on preliminary assessment numbers to present in a few weeks, with designs likely in a few months. TeKippe recommended January or February for a letting date for the project. The motion to proceed was approved by the Council.

Lyon discussed the Green Valley Bridge project with 80% in funding coming from the State, and the City and Allamakee County contributing 10% each. The Council and TeKippe discussed the letting process, which will be handled by the County. No action was taken.

The 2019 Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) Resurfacing and Sidewalk Project was discussed by the Council. Concerns were discussed relating to street light electrical issues that will need to be addressed prior to the State’s 2019 street resurfacing project through downtown Waukon. Concerns mentioned included suspected corrosion and electrical issues below pavement.

The Resolution to change the reimbursement rate for mileage was approved, changing the rate from twenty-eight cents per mile to fifty-four cents per mile, based on the rate currently used by the State of Iowa. The Council approved to place the Hotel/Motel Tax on the Election Ballot for November 7, 2017.
As a routine accounting measure, the internal loan transfer of $20,000 from the Southeast Urban Renewal Area Tax Increment Revenue Fund to the Sports Field Sub Fund for construction costs for the Concession Stand/Restroom was approved.

Under Other Matters, the hardware and banners hanging from light poles downtown was discussed. Some of the banners and hardware have become weathered or damaged. Burrett will move forward with replacements at an estimated cost of $500.

A letter from a business owner on Rossville Road was discussed. Concerns relating to the two-hour parking limit on Main Street not being extended to Rossville Road also were discussed. The next City Council meeting will be held Tuesday, September 5 due to the Labor Day holiday.

Resident Brooke Troendle was present as follow-up to her suggestions at the previous City Council meeting relating to the need for sidewalks along the golf course in Waukon. The Council advised that this will be added to the next meeting agenda and research will be done prior to that meeting.

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