Waukon City Council repeals two-hour parking limit downtown, hears update from Aveka

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday, October 16 to address a variety of matters, including the 2019 Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) Project, the purchase of equipment for the Waukon Police Department and discussion of a potential sidewalk project.

During Public Comment, Andy Kelleher of New Albin, a candidate for the Iowa House District 56 seat, discussed visiting several city councils looking for feedback regarding what a state representative can do to help each community, with the council providing feedback to his question. Coordinator Ardie Kuhse with Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) discussed plans being made by WEDC and Waukon High School to host an evening with the candidates event to be held October 30 at 7 p.m. at the school with a specific room or location to be determined. Kuhse indicated that the event will not be a debate but rather a forum-style event. Kuhse discussed plans being made for a tractor-ride event in July 2018 involving a tractor club from Pella that could involve up to 200 tractors.

Under Departmental Reports, Waukon Police Chief Phil Young discussed that the house by the former C-Mart property has now been removed. Park and Rec Wellness Director Jeremy Strub discussed preparations for winter involving the City Park and that fall activities are winding down and sign-ups for winter activities are starting to come in. City Manager Dean Hilgerson discussed reviewing the City’s annual financial report, attending the County Hazard Mitigation meeting and looking into funding options for the new wastewater treatment facility.

Earlier in the meeting, the council approved the addition of an Aveka update to the agenda with Aveka General Manager John Anderson in attendance. Anderson discussed decibel readings from various locations outside of the Aveka facility and improvements that have been made. Anderson indicated that he is working with an engineering firm to design a silencer to be added to the smokestack to help address noise concerns and that the base for the smokestack and extension will be accomplished in a timely manner with a faster curing, more expensive type of concrete. Anderson discussed the completion of the building constructed by Pat Stone and that additional sound dampening panels have been ordered.

The council approved the closure of West Street from Main Street to First Avenue SW for the “Trunk or Treat” event to be held October 31.

Hilgerson discussed the 2019 IDOT Project and the recent field review involving a presentation at City Hall and a walking tour of various streets. Hilgerson indicated that 32 trees will be removed and that the IDOT is interested in combining this street project with the downtown street light project, taking care of street light repairs before the street is repaved and new sidewalks are in place.

Young discussed the request to purchase equipment using $5,000 in RAGBRAI funds that have been donated to the Police Department. Young indicated that three new tazers ($1,177.95 per tazer) and three new portable radios ($359.50 per radio) will be purchased at a total of $4,611.50, with the remaining $388.50 of the funds having been used to purchase surveillance equipment. The council approved the use of the RAGBRAI donation for the equipment purchases.

The council approved the $168.75 refund of liquor license to the Yen Hing Dragon LLC with a change of ownership. The Reel-Core franchise fee rebate for the first quarter of Fiscal-Year 2018 at $6,814.22 was also approved.

City Attorney Jim Garrett discussed that the Green Valley Bridge Temporary Municipal Construction Easement has been signed by landowner Brian Sweeney. The Council approved the easement.

City Clerk Al Lyon discussed the City Hall computer network upgrade with Access Systems as low bidder at $2,957.49, with the Council approving the project.

Hilgerson discussed the wastewater treatment facility agenda item indicating that Project Engineer Lucas Elsbernd with Fehr-Graham Engineering was originally expected to be part of the meeting, but plans had changed due to there not being much to update at this time. Hilgerson indicated that the 30-day review is ongoing for the anti-degradation study, an analysis used by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to maintain and protect surface water quality.

The council moved into discussion of the Fourth Street SE/Seventh Avenue SE sidewalk with council member Ben Rausch discussing safety concerns associated with pedestrian traffic and no sidewalk along a street designated as a truck route. Hilgerson indicated that he is neutral on the proposed sidewalk project but is glad to see public interest, while other walking routes within Waukon may be better promoted and utilized. Resident Brooke Troendle discussed that having an estimate and plan is necessary before applying for grant funding. Following discussion, the council agreed that Hilgerson will continue to research the feasibility and options available for this project.

The Council moved into discussion of the Quillin's tobacco violation. Quillin's has remitted a $300 civil penalty to the City of Waukon in accordance to the acknowledgment/settlement agreement for this first violation. The council approved the agreement.

Lyons discussed the Delinquent Utility Accounts agenda item indicating that of the eight accounts listed, seven have passed the statute of limitations with the eighth account relating to a deceased individual with an account balance of $44 and interest accrued. The council approved to remove the delinquent utility accounts from the City’s books.

The Sanitary Sewer Collection System Spot Repairs Partial Pay Estimate #1 for $26,829.05 to Skyline Construction Inc. was approved, as was the Bucket Truck repair invoice from Crossroads Mobile Maintenance of Chicago, IL.

The Council set November 6 as the date for the Public Hearing for the Annual Financial Report for Fiscal-Year Ending June 30, 2017.

The ordinance to repeal two-hour parking on a limited portion of West Main Street was discussed by the Council. The first reading of the ordinance was approved with additional readings being waived. The Council approved adoption of the ordinance which will be in effect Wednesday, October 25 following publication of the ordinance.

Under Other Matters, Hilgerson briefly discussed that he would like to review the City’s investment policy with further discussion at a later time. Council member John Lydon discussed the need to contact Google regarding updating travel recommendations being used by Google Maps.

The Council moved into closed session for discussion relating to Union negotiations before adjourning.

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