Waukon City Council discusses a number of funding items for projects

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday, November 20 to address a variety of matters, including a Water and Sewer Department vacancy, the Green Valley Bridge agreement with Allamakee County and the Fehr-Graham professional service agreement for the new wastewater treatment facility project.

During Public Comment, Coordinator Ardie Kuhse with Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) discussed the Allamakee County Housing Study and the online survey that is available for county residents and those that work in Allamakee but reside elsewhere. Kuhse encouraged the Council and those in attendance to complete the easy, five-minute survey at www.allamakeecounty.com, or fill out a paper copy available at area banks, and to encourage the public to complete the survey also, which will assist Waukon and Allamakee County in qualifying for grants and determine housing needs.

Under Departmental Reports, Water and Sewer Superintendent Bob Campbell discussed ongoing maintenance and repair. Waukon Police Chief Phil Young discussed researching better ways to maintain emergency siren batteries over the winter months. Park and Rec Wellness Director Jeremy Strub discussed being in the second week of events recognizing the Wellness Center’s ten-year anniversary with the November 23 “Turkey Trot” 5K and 8K this week. City Clerk Al Lyon discussed making a change to the distribution of information packets to the City Council, eliminating postal costs by leaving these packets for Council members to pick up at the library.

City Manager Dean Hilgerson discussed the 2019 Street Project indicating that $50,000 in additional infrastructure repairs involving water and sewer have been identified. Hilgerson discussed a recent tour of the Waukon Police Station provided by Assistant Police Chief Paul Wagner, a recent budget workshop, financing options, a potential $600,000 grant opportunity involving an income survey and thanked Waukon residents for passing the Hotel/Motel Tax. Hilgerson discussed that he will be working with Street Superintendent Keith Burrett researching some options through Alliant Energy regarding street lighting at the corner of Fourth Avenue SW and Fifth Street SW, a concern previously raised by Jim Allison of Waukon.

The Council moved into Regular Business, discussing the 2016 PCC Street Repairs Partial Pay Estimate #6 – Final Payment $17,328.79 to Concrete Foundations Inc. With some of the work yet to be completed, the Council approved to hold payment until the completion of work.

Senior Project Manager Lyle TeKippe with Fehr-Graham Engineering discussed the work completed relating to the next agenda item, Second Street NW to First Avenue NW Storm Sewer – Partial Pay Estimate #1 for $141,628.85 to Skyline Construction Inc. of Decorah. TeKippe indicated that this amount covers 162 feet of the 195 feet of box culvert that has been replaced and backfilled with crushed stone. TeKippe recommended allowing the winter freeze and thaw cycle to compact this area, creating a solid base, and commented that this partial pay estimate only covers work that has been completed by Skyline Construction. The Council approved the partial pay estimate.

The 2017 Trenchless Storm Sewer Improvement Partial Pay Estimate #3 for $12,777.75 to Engineering and Construction Innovations Inc. of Oakdale, MN for cement sewer lining and associated costs was approved by the Council.

The next two agenda items involving sanitary sewer spot repairs were combined and approved with a single vote. The Change Order #1 decrease of $1,838.00 and Partial Pay Estimate #2 for $24,426.40 both involved Skyline Construction.

The Resolution accepting work covered under the Sanitary Sewer Collection System Spot Repair was approved. This resolution verifies that engineers have inspected the work completed by the contractor and that payment will be made.

Lyon discussed the Wellmark Health Insurance renewal, indicating that a rate increase of 2.69% has occurred, which is less than the other plan option involving an 11% increase. The Council approved the Wellmark Health Insurance renewal.

Lyon discussed the Affordable Care Act fee of $14.25 per City employee, which is currently part of employees’ health insurance premiums, and that following contract negotiations, this cost will be paid by the City. The Council approved this change relating to the Affordable Care Act fee.

Lyon provided an overview of changes that have been made to the Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Report for Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 2017, with the Council approving the report with corrections. Lyon also discussed the next agenda item involving the Resolution establishing the amount of TIF for the Southeast Urban Renewal District in the amount of $525,000.00 for the 2018-2019 Fiscal Year, which was approved by the Council.

Campbell discussed a Water/Sewer Department vacancy that will be the result of an employee retirement in December and the timeline for certifications for a new employee. The Council approved to advertise the position.

TeKippe and Hilgerson discussed the Professional Service Agreement for the Wastewater Treatment Facility and the associated design costs. TeKippe indicated that Project Engineer Lucas Elsbernd was unable to attend today’s meeting  and that Elsbernd will be providing additional information. Council member-elect Gayle Decker addressed the Mayor and Council regarding competitive bidding on projects, which led into discussion of competitive proposals and bidding and the stages of a project where appropriate. Following a lengthy discussion, the matter was tabled until the December 4 Council meeting.

The Green Valley Bridge Replacement Project was discussed by the Council. This project involves an agreement between Allamakee County and the City of Waukon, each accepting 50% of the remaining 20% of the bridge replacement cost after State funding pays for 80% of the cost. The agreement was approved.

The next two agenda items were combined and approved with a single vote and involved the transfer of $141,628.85 from the 2016 Capital Improvements Fund to the Storm Sewer Improvements Fund and a transfer of $294.00 from the Southeast Urban Renewal Area Tax Increment Revenue Fund to the Administrative Costs Sub Fund.

The next two agenda items were combined, with December 18 being set as the date for both the Public Hearing for amendment 20 to the Southeast Urban Renewal Area for the Waste Treatment Facility and the Public Hearing for amendment 21 to the Southeast Urban Renewal Area for the Reel Core expansion.

The next two agenda items involving Innovative Ag Services were combined and approved with a single vote. This involved Resolutions certifying the annual appropriations amount of $14,636.00 for tax rebates for the current Fiscal Year 2018 and setting the annual appropriations amount of $11,709.00 for the tax rebate for Fiscal Year 2019.

Under Other Matters, Young discussed that he will not be attending the December 4 City Council meeting due to a schedule conflict with the Waukon Holiday Parade and that he will be directing traffic at that event. Council member Dwight Jones discussed the need to keep moving forward with a new Police Station facility, which led into discussion of funding and construction options.

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