Waukon City Council reconsidering two-hour downtown parking after committee findings

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday, October 2 to address a variety of matters, including the Buddy Poppy Proclamation, a service line program by Utility Service Partners and the two-hour downtown parking limit. There were no Public Comments heard or read during that portion of the meeting.

The council moved right into Departmental Reports, with Water and Sewer Superintendent Bob Campbell advising that four of the seven sewer repairs throughout the city have been completed. Street Superintendent Keith Burrett discussed that his department has moved to its winter work schedule and work is moving forward on the department's bucket truck. Park and Rec Wellness Director Jeremy Strub advised that work on the parking area near the Memory Garden in the Waukon City Park is going well and that the Park and Recreation Department is purchasing a used pick-up truck, with an older vehicle to be put up for sealed bid.

City Manager Dean Hilgerson advised that Monday, October 9 the Department of Transportation (DOT) will have representatives in Waukon to tour the city regarding the DOT 2019 Street Project and that Department Heads are invited to be part of this tour and meeting. He said that more will be learned about the downtown street light concerns following this meeting.

Hilgerson also discussed survey responses received regarding the proposed sidewalk around the golf course along Fourth Street SE and Seventh Avenue SE and that a committee of citizens referring to themselves as “Walk On Waukon” has shown interest in the project, which he believes is encouraging. Hilgerson also advised that the anti-degradation analysis relating to the new wastewater treatment facility has been completed and provided a brief update on grant and funding options that may be available for this project.

Mayor Duane DeWalle read aloud the Buddy Poppy Proclamation which will recognize veterans of foreign wars October 22, 2017. DeWalle encouraged patriotic citizens to consider contributing to this cause which benefits disabled and needy veterans and to wear Buddy Poppies in honor of the men and women who have risked their lives in defense of this country's freedoms. The Council approved the Buddy Poppy Proclamation.

Ashley Shiwarski with Utility Service Partners conducted a presentation regarding an optional service line program offering protection to citizens against the costs associated with sewer line and plumbing issues. Shiwarski advised that Utility Service Partners is endorsed by the Iowa League of Cities and offers three programs to cover costs up to $8,500 per incident associated with external sewer lines and external water lines and up to $3,000 per incident for  in-home plumbing. Shiwarski advised that fifty cents per paid enrollment, $1.50 if participating in all three programs per household, is paid to the City as a partner in this program. The Council and Shiwarski discussed neighboring communities that have partnered with this program, including Cresco and Decorah. The Council was in agreement to move forward to offer this optional program.

The Council combined the next two agenda items into one vote involving the alley south of City Hall. The Change Order #1 decrease of $1,259.18 and Partial Estimate #1 for $21,240.78 to River City Paving were approved.

The Resolution accepting work covering the alley south of City Hall, which indicates that project engineers have inspected work completed and that it meets the terms of the contract, was approved.

The Council moved into discussion of Aveka noise and odor, with City Clerk Allen Lyon providing decibel readings and comparisons at various locations from April of this year to recent readings. The Council discussed the decrease in the noise level produced by the Aveka facility with concerns raised that better results would like to be achieved.

Council member Dwight Jones read aloud a recent text from Kevin Welsh, a homeowner living 245 feet to the south of the Aveka facility’s smokestack, advising that he has seen little to no change in the noise level produced. Jones said that he would like to have General Manager John Anderson present at this meeting for an update and commented that improved communication is necessary.

Lyon suggested that the services of an acoustical engineer may be needed to determine additional issues affecting the noise levels produced by the Aveka facility. Jones said that Anderson will be invited to the next Council meeting to provide an update on the  progress regarding the noise and odor issues.
The 2017 Trenchless Storm Sewer Contract Change Order #1 was approved. This change order involves an increase of $58,000 to Engineering Construction Innovations, Inc. for additional cement lining of storm sewer.

Hilgerson discussed the Downtown Parking agenda item and the parking committee’s recommendations and findings. Hilgerson advised that the committee has found that a negative climate has been created by the two-hour parking limit downtown and that enforcement of the parking limit is difficult.

Hilgerson indicated that the negatives have outweighed the positives and that a year-round ban on overnight parking may resolve most of the issues affecting downtown businesses.

Hilgerson discussed the need for better signage to indicate public parking and improvements that are needed for the public parking lots. The Council agreed to move forward with rescinding the two-hour parking limit, pending advice from City Attorney James Garrett and necessary public hearings on the matter.

Coordinator Ardie Kuhse with Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) discussed a purchase offer for Lot 3 of the West Side Development. Kuhse informed the Council about an offer to purchase the lot to build a single-family home.

Lyon discussed the Resolution for the City of Waukon Credit/Debit Policy where, following a recent audit, it was determined that individual signed receipts are necessary rather than a monthly statement from a particular vendor. The resolution was approved.

The Council discussed a Planning and Zoning Board vacancy and will be reaching out to potential candidates to try and fill the position. As a routine financial matter, the transfer of $15,715.18 from the Park Trust Fund to the Sports Field Sub-Fund for project building costs for the new Sports Field Concession Stand was approved.

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