City of Waukon welcomes new City Manager Dean Hilgerson; Public invited to introduce themselves at "meet and greet" open house Monday

Waukon City Manager Dean Hilgerson ...

by Joe Moses

The City of Waukon recently created a City Manager position to assist the Mayor and City Council in a variety of areas. Dean Hilgerson was selected for the City Manager position following an extensive search and may be a new presence in Waukon City Hall, but has had a long career in management, finance and city government.

A northeast Iowa native, Hilgerson farmed near Gunder for 20 years following graduation from Valley High School. Hilgerson earned an associates degree in Accounting from Northeast Iowa Technical Institute (NITI) in Calmar, now known as Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC), and later earned a four-year Bachelors in Science degree in Business Management at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, CT through evening classes while employed as an Accounting Manager.

Hilgerson has served in a variety of capacities in management and accounting throughout his career but more recently served as the City Manager in Marquette for close to eight years. During that time, Hilgerson was involved in nearly $10 million in capital projects, a time he describes as being a good experience and an opportunity to get a lot of things done for Marquette.

As City Manager, Hilgerson views the new wastewater treatment facility planning and funding as one of his top priorities. The estimated $8.6 million project is moving forward as a directive from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The funding and planning for the project is under a tight timeline and Hilgerson estimates that the process is six months behind where it should be. Hilgerson hopes to meet the deadline but an extension may be possible as long as the process is moving forward. Hilgerson and the City are currently working with Fehr-Graham Engineering regarding the anti-degradation review of the impact on the water supply, with the next steps involving the wastewater treatment facility plan and funding options, which will be ongoing throughout the planning process.

Hilgerson views establishing a five- and ten-year street plan as another top priority that will aid in the decision making, budgeting and funding processes as street projects are planned and scheduled.

In describing the City Manager position, Hilgerson indicated that it is a new administrative role for the City of Waukon and that he is not here to change things, but rather enhance and build upon the good things that are going on in Waukon. Hilgerson discussed that his position involves the Zoning Administrator responsibilities and is also involved in the gathering of information, planning and providing recommendations in the decision making process on a variety of matters as the City Manager, which reports directly to the Mayor and City Council. City Departments report to Hilgerson, which he commented are doing great, but he views his role as an opportunity to build upon the positive work and progress they have achieved. Regarding his availability to the public, Hilgerson indicated that his office is always open unless a phone call or other matter requires immediate attention.

Hilgerson was drawn to this opportunity after enjoying the city government responsibilities and challenges of his earlier position as City Manager in Marquette. As someone living outside of Waukon, residing in the rural Gunder area, Hilgerson indicated that he is viewing challenges and opportunities in

Waukon with new eyes and no preconceived ideas, which is a positive as he helps define this new position in Waukon.

Hilgerson views Waukon and Allamakee County as the best kept secret in Iowa with the beautiful scenery and strong work ethic of those living here. Hilgerson sees a lot of opportunity for economic development and tourism in the Waukon area, beyond the great things that are currently in place.

The public is invited to get to know Hilgerson at a City Manager Meet and Greet event Monday, October 2 from 5-6:30 p.m. at City Hall on Allamakee Street in Waukon. The event is being sponsored by the City of Waukon and Waukon Economic Development Corporation.

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