The semi-monthly meeting of the City Council of Walcott, Iowa, was held on Monday, the 2nd day of April, 2018, at Walcott City Hall. Mayor John Kostichek called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Council members present were: John Brockmann, Tim Koehler, Lisa Mengler, Jacob Puck, and Larry Smith. Absent: None. City staff present: Jeff Blake, Josh Geigle, Lisa Rickertsen, Tom Schirman, and Paul Stagg.
Approval of Agenda. Smith moved and Puck seconded to approve the agenda. Motion carried.
Introduction of Audience/Public Comments. Mike Mosier stated he fought issues with the snow plow pushing the snow on his sidewalk, which abuts the curb, after the last snow fall which was very wet and heavy.
Consent Agenda. Mengler moved and Smith seconded to approve the consent agenda including the invoices, minutes from March 19, 2018, and TIF rebate payments per agreements – JDW Holdings – Midfield Pattern Project $1,313.58, Iowa 80 Truckstop – 60 x 240 Building Project – $1,310.19, and Sterling Partners – Multi-Use Building Project – $6,924.77. Motion carried.
Kelly Valenzuela – Request for Backyard Hens. Kelly Valenzuela presented information requesting the City Council allow residents to keep a small flock of hens, with the following regulations: limit of six hens (no roosters allowed); minimum requirements for a chicken coop and fenced enclosure; requiring coop separation from property lines; and requiring proof of applicant completing a class in raising urban chickens. Valenzuela reported that backyard hens would help reduce food waste and bring income to the City (annual license fee). Mengler cited information from the CDC (Center of Disease Control and Prevention) and stated the risks to the public, regarding health hazards potentially associated with urban chickens, must be looked at as it outweighs the benefits. Smith concurred with Mengler and stated it could create a nuisance for neighbors. Attorney Schirman stated the request would require an ordinance and it should include addressing noise and odor issues and require City inspections and enforcement. Brockmann reported on his experience with chickens at his farm, including the high costs, smell, and predators. Discussion continued and Valenzuela presented a petition from residents supporting her request to allow backyard chickens. Following further discussion, Mengler moved and Koehler seconded to table the issue until the April 16th meeting. Motion carried.
W. Otis Street Reconstruction Project – Rowe to Main Street. Jason Holdorf, City Engineer, presented the cost opinion on the proposed W. Otis Street Reconstruction Project, which includes replacement of the sanitary sewer and water lines. Holdorf stated the sanitary sewer replacement will be further determined once the sanitary sewer televising is complete. Puck moved and Mengler seconded to move forward with the design process. Motion carried.
Splash Pad Project – Review of Bids. Bryce Johnson, Project Engineer, reported on the revised base bid for the Splash Pad Project. She also reported on other potential project cost reductions by changing or eliminating items (rerouting the drain line and not connecting the utilities at this time), which would be done with future change orders. Brockmann stated he spoke with the former property owner of the splash pad site, following the last meeting, who stated the trash area did not go into the proposed project area. He expressed his frustration that he communicated that information to the Mayor and Park Chairperson but the area was still excavated. Stagg responded that at the last meeting he was directed by the Council to determine if there was any unsuitable material at the project site due to the concerns that Brockmann raised at that meeting. Further discussion was held on storing the splash pad equipment and delaying the connection of the water and sewer to the splash pad until next year following completion of the proposed W. Otis Street Reconstruction Project and seeking additional donations and grants towards the project. Mengler moved and Puck seconded to approve Resolution 2018-11, Awarding Contract for the Splash Pad Project. Roll call ayes: Mengler, Puck, Koehler, and Smith. Brockmann voted no, stating he felt the W. Otis Street Project should be completed before the Splash Pad Project. Motion carried. The contract was awarded to low bidder, Centennial Contractors, at the base bid amount of $154,629.
Ordinance 497-18, Amending Chapter 99 Regarding Sewer Rates – 3rd Reading. Rickertsen stated this Ordinance will increase the sewer base rate from $9.00 to $10.00/month and the usage rate by $.35 per 1,000 gallons of water, effective on the May 1, 2018, billing. The increase is needed to support the operations, maintenance, and improvements of the sewer utility. Puck moved and Smith seconded to approve the third reading of Ordinance 497-18, Amending Chapter 99 Regarding Sewer Rates. Roll call ayes: Puck, Smith, Mengler, Koehler, and Brockmann. Motion carried.
Ordinance 498-18, Amending Chapter 92 Regarding Water Rates – Introduction and 1st Reading. Rickertsen stated this Ordinance will increase the water usage rate by $.15 per 1,000 gallons of water and the minimum charge for bulk water sales from $20 to $25, effective on the June 1, 2018, billing. The increase is needed to support the operations, maintenance, and improvements of the water utility. Mengler introduced and moved to approve the first reading of Ordinance 498-18, Amending Chapter 92 Regarding Water Rates. Seconded by Koehler. Roll call ayes: Mengler, Koehler, Smith, Brockmann, and Puck. Motion carried.
Fire Department Report. Chief Geigle reported the department voted to accept Jeremy Smith as a new member. Koehler moved and Jacob Puck seconded to approve Jeremy Smith as a member of the Walcott Volunteer Fire Department. Motion carried. Geigle also reported on an old vent hood that was removed from the meeting room and that the department would like to dispose of the hood and the exhaust fan (which is still attached to the building) as one unit. Discussion was held on the lack of ventilation in the meeting room and the efforts to re-establish ventilation. Stagg and Geigle will work together to determine ventilation costs for the meeting room and the feasibility of utilizing the existing fan.
Public Works Department Report. Stagg reported that five bids were received on the 1990 Ford Dump Truck and he recommended accepting the high bid. Koehler moved and Mengler seconded to approve selling the 1990 Ford Dump Truck to Shane Veach for $5,615. Motion carried. Brockmann commented on the snow removal procedures on Saturday, March 24th and stated he doesn’t like the curb-to-curb policy. Stagg responded that he was following policy previously set by City Council. Kendall Mattson stated he prefers the snow pushed to the curb in front of his residence. Smith stated he did have complaints about snow boulders on sidewalks due to the wet and heavy snowfall.
City Clerk’s Report. Rickertsen reported that Virgil Latimer’s request to extend mail delivery was approved from the USPS and he received approval from the property owner across from Prairie View Park to locate mailboxes in the ROW adjacent to their property.
Mayor’s Report. Mayor Kostichek proclaimed April 5, 2018, as Junior Achievement Day, to recognize Junior Achievement of the Heartland’s purpose to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. Mayor Kostichek also read a thank you note from the Walcott Historical Society for the recent $5,000 donation.
Council Member Comments. Brockmann expressed his disappointment that he was not notified (by City officials or staff) of the recent accident involving a squad car. Mengler encouraged other Council Members to ask citizens about their thoughts on backyard hens/urban chickens and encourage them to attend the next meeting.
Smith moved and Mengler seconded to adjourn at 7:17 p.m. Motion carried. All votes on motions were unanimous, unless noted.