The semi-monthly meeting of the City Council of Walcott, Iowa, was held on Monday, the 17th day of August, 2020, at Walcott City Hall. Mayor John Kostichek called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Council members present were: Everett Bieri, John Brockmann, Lisa Mengler, Jacob Puck, and Larry Smith. City staff present were Jeff Blake, Lisa Rickertsen, and Paul Stagg. Due to COVID-19, call-in information was provided to the public on the meeting agenda notice but no public participated remotely.
Approval of Agenda. Puck moved and Smith seconded to approve the agenda. Motion carried.
Introduction of Audience/Public Comments. Karla Burt stated she was impressed with the volunteers and city staff during the community clean-up from the storm on August 10th. Burt also reported on the positive comments received on the entrance sign and flower baskets, the residential property tax abatement (available in Westbrook addition only), interest they’ve received on the two new homes they are constructing, and the need for more housing in Walcott.
Consent Agenda. Puck moved and Smith seconded to approve the consent agenda including the invoices, minutes from August 3, 2020, July 2020 financial reports, Class B & C wine and beer permits and Sunday sales renewal for Dolgencorp, LLC (Dollar General), and the FYE 2020 annual financial report. Motion carried.
Karla Burt – Storm Sewer. Burt reported on issues with water draining into the backyards onto their lots on W. James Street and stated that there is no storm sewer on that portion of W. James Street or W. Cedar Lane Drive. She suggested adding storm sewer whenever street improvements are made.
Hearts & Hands Foundation – Austin Burt & Brent Puck – Wescott Park Improvements. A lengthy discussion was held with Brent Puck and Austin Burt regarding the request from Hearts and Hands Foundation to proceed with installing new fencing for the backstop, dugouts, and partial sidelines at Wescott Park. Brent Puck questioned if it was feasible for the concrete, excluding the sidewalks, to be completed this fall following the fence installation. It was discussed that the City would not be able to rebid the concrete project this fall due to the short construction timeline. The City must follow the Iowa Code regarding public improvements construction and there is not a firm installation date for the fence, just sometime in October. Foundation members felt it was important to do the concrete work either this fall or next spring. Austin Burt stated if the City does not do the concrete project this fall or next spring, the Foundation would raise funds for the concrete and fencing but expressed concerns about requesting funds from organizations for both projects. Mengler stated the City denied the concrete project bids at the last meeting per the Foundation’s request and that the City intends to proceed with the concrete project in the fall of 2021 due to Iowa Code requirements and early spring practices and games. Puck suggested they delay the project until late summer/fall in 2021 to allow them more time to raise funds and the City would schedule the concrete project in the fall after fence installation. The Mayor and council expressed their support of the improvements and their intent to complete the concrete project next fall. Burt requested permission to remove the backstop fence on September 12th and install new fencing in October. Mengler moved and Puck seconded to allow the Hearts and Hands Foundation to remove the fence at Wescott Park on September 12th and allow them to install new fencing in October. Motion carried. Burt will bring a detailed fence plan to the next meeting.
No Parking/Fire Lane Across from Fire Station. Smith moved and Mengler seconded to install no parking signs and paint the curb, per state and city codes, across from the fire station bay doors. Motion carried.
Ordinance 514-20, Amending Chapter 99 Regarding Sewer Rates. Puck moved and Smith seconded to approve the second reading of Ordinance 514-20. Roll call ayes: Puck, Smith, Mengler, Bieri, and Brockmann. Motion carried. Effective with the October 1, 2020 billing the minimum bill will increase by $.09 to $19.25 per month. The usage rate of $6.33 per 1,000 gallons of water used per month for all usage over 1,400 gallons will remain unchanged.
Public Works Department Report. Stagg presented a cost opinion and engineering design costs for ADA sidewalk ramps along Main Street. He is requesting approval to proceed with the engineering design for intersections currently without ADA ramps but noted he intends to break down the ramp construction due to annual funding. Brockmann stated he felt the surveying has already been done without prior authorization. Stagg responded that some preliminary work was performed but it was below the cost threshold he is authorized to spend. Mengler moved and Smith seconded to approve the estimated engineering design fee of $7,800 for the ADA ramps on Main Street. Motion carried with Brockmann opposing. Stagg read a prepared statement (which will be included in the September Chamber newsletter) expressing his gratitude for all of the volunteer assistance following the derecho on August 10th.
Mayor’s Report. Mayor Kostichek thanked everyone who helped clean-up following Monday’s storm. He stated he was impressed with the amount of volunteer assistance and was grateful that the youth ball tournament was still able to be played at Wescott Park over the weekend.
Council Member Comments. The majority of council members expressed their appreciation and thanks to the Public Works, Police, and Fire Departments following the storm. Discussion was held that Stagg will be assessing the trees in City right-of-ways and damaged trees will be removed by the City.
Smith moved and Puck seconded to adjourn at 7:20 p.m. Motion carried. All votes on motions were unanimous, unless noted.