Waukon City Council hears update on proposed Walk-On Waukon project, approves short-term loan for Veterans Memorial Hospital during medical records transition

by Joe Moses

The Waukon City Council met in regular session Monday, March 5 to address a full agenda of items. Mayor Pat Stone called the meeting to order and advised that the meeting agenda will need to be amended due to absences from weather-related road conditions. Stone indicated that the City Manager’s Report would need to be removed from the agenda with City Manager Dean Hilgerson not being in attendance, and that the Public Art Project design and contractual agreement would need to be tabled. The Council approved the amended agenda.

The Public Hearing for the Fiscal-Year 2019 Budget was opened and closed with City Clerk Al Lyon indicating that no written or verbal comments have been received on the matter. There was also no Public Comment during that portion of the meeting.

Under Departmental Reports, Water and Sewer Superintendent Bob Campbell discussed that he and Hilgerson recently toured wastewater treatment facilities in Dyersville and Osage, gathering valuable information to be used towards decision making related to Waukon’s new wastewater treatment facility. Park and Rec Wellness Director Jeremy Strub advised that applications are due by March 16 for Summer Rec employment.

The Council moved into Regular Business with an update from Brooke Troendle of the Walk-On Waukon committee. Troendle provided an overview of the proposed sidewalk project which will connect to and expand upon the 2019 Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) project with sections of sidewalk creating routes across Waukon connecting the Waukon Wellness Center and the Waukon City Park, allowing convenient walking paths across the community without traveling on gravel or walking across lawns.

Troendle indicated that the Walk-On Waukon committee consists of seven members and discussed working with Regional Planner Ashley Christensen of Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission (UERPC). Troendle provided an overview of the fundraising process thus far, with $1,900 received in donations and multiple grant opportunities being aggressively pursued, including a $40,000 grant from Wellmark with a dollar-for-dollar match required, if the grant were to be approved. The Council thanked Troendle and the members of the Walk-On Waukon committee for their ongoing work on this project.

The Resolution for the City of Waukon Budget for Fiscal-Year 2019 was approved. The Council combined into one vote and approved the Resolutions for the Waukon Chamber of Commerce requests to close streets for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade - March 18, 2018, Memorial Day Parade - May 28, 2018, Corn Days Parade - August 17, 2018 and the Holiday Parade - December 3, 2018.

The Council discussed creating a committee to review the Requests for Proposals for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). A committee of three members was agreed upon by the Council consisting of Lyon, Hilgerson and council member Gayle Decker.

The Council discussed the selection of committee members to research high speed internet for the City, agreeing upon Corey Shelton of JaDecc’S, Inc. and council member Ben Rausch to head the committee and assist in appointing additional committee members from various organizations and the business community.

The Council moved into discussion of the Matthew and Ciara Snitker application for the Urban Revitalization Program at 109 Eleventh Avenue NW. The Council determined that the structure met the requirements of the program and approved the application. The Council also approved the Resolution Waiving Right to Review the Andrew R. Burke and Kari A. Burke Sub-Division Plat.

Strub provided an update on the Wellness Center heating system, indicating that only two estimates have been received for the replacement of the non-functioning heat exchangers. The Council approved to move forward with the low bid for the project from Winona Controls Inc. of Caledonia, MN.

Lyon discussed the next agenda item involving a request by the Street Department for a new dump truck, recommending that the matter be tabled pending verification of bids and additional budget work. The matter was tabled.

The Council approved the Resolution for the Alliant Energy light pole at the intersection of Fourth Avenue SW and Fifth Street SW. The State Revolving Fund (SRF) Planning and Design Loan agenda item was tabled and will be added to the March 19 council meeting agenda.

Two Planning and Zoning Board appointments were discussed and approved for John Sweeney, with a term ending September 21, 2022, and Ken Kerr, with a term ending September 21, 2020.

The council moved into discussion of a Resolution authorizing the issuance of an anticipatory warrant on behalf of Veterans Memorial Hospital (VMH). Consultant Scott Knode, representing VMH, and the council discussed the financial matter involving a $750,000 short-term loan for the hospital due to software changes delaying accounts receivable. Knode indicated that three computer system conversions have resulted in billing delays, creating a temporary shortfall in revenue, with more than the loan amount to be received as revenue as billing catches up with the ongoing system conversion (see Page 9A of this week's edition for additional information). The Council approved the resolution.

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