The semi-monthly meeting of the City Council of Walcott, Iowa, was held on Monday, the 3rd 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. Mengler moved and Smith seconded to approve the agenda. Motion carried.
Introduction of Audience/Public Comments. No comments.
Consent Agenda. Smith moved and Mengler seconded to approve the consent agenda including the invoices and minutes from July 20, 2020. Motion carried with Puck abstaining due to absence from meeting.
Ron Fick – Sidewalks at 302 N. Century Street. Ron Fick, owner of the vacant corner lot at 302 N. Century Street was present to discuss the requirement for him to install public sidewalks on his property. Fick reported that he did not want to install the public sidewalk until a home is constructed on the lot and stated there are other areas in town without public sidewalks. This property was identified in 2018 as a sidewalk gap property and was prioritized since it is the only property located on E. James Street, on the main route to school, without a public sidewalk. In August, 2018, the City approved a two-year deferment of the sidewalk installation, following a request from Fick. Brockmann stated he felt if requiring one property owner to install sidewalks then all properties should be required to install them. It was reported that the intention is to address all residential properties without public sidewalks but there are annual funding limitations for the reimbursement program. Following further discussion, Mengler moved and Puck seconded to allow Ron Fick until July 1, 2021, to install the public sidewalk as required but only along E. James Street. Motion carried with Brockmann opposing. At this time, Fick will not be required to install the public sidewalk on the east side of the property, unless a home is built. The property is eligible to participate in the Residential Sidewalk Reimbursement Program, which reimburses the property owner 50% of the installation cost of a public sidewalk. Fick was advised that he will need a permit for the sidewalk installation, to complete an application for the reimbursement program, and he is not required to install the handicap ramp at the corner.
Wescott Park Improvements.
- Ballfield and Fencing. The Park Board met on July 29th with the majority of the board members recommending to delay the concrete project until next fall and to allow the Hearts and Hands Foundation to proceed with the fence and ballfield improvements this fall. Austin Burt, representing the Hearts and Hands Foundation, provided an update on the cost of new fencing and potential funding commitments from local organizations. Burt stated the group currently does not have enough financial commitments to complete the project so it may be completed in phases. He questioned if the City would consider participating financially but it was noted that if the City contributes it would require the City to follow the contract letting process as defined in the Iowa Code which would affect the timeline and potentially increase costs due to additional requirements. If the fence project is completed this fall it would delay the concrete project until the fall of 2021, due to spring construction timelines and diamond use in the spring. Following further discussion, Mengler moved and Puck seconded to allow the Hearts and Hands Foundation to proceed with the ballfield and fencing improvements this fall. Motion carried. Burt will bring back plans for final approval.
- Concrete Project. Two bids were received on the concrete project but due to the proposed ballfield and fencing improvements and timeline, Mengler moved and Smith seconded to reject all bids and not proceed at this time. Motion carried.
Victory Park Slide. During the July 29th Park Board meeting, the board unanimously recommended to remove the slide at Victory Park, following the safety inspection report and recommendation from the insurance company, and to leave the area as green space. Some items listed on the safety inspection report could be remedied but some could not, including the height of the slide. Bieri moved to bid out the removal of the tornado slide at Victory Park, per Park Board recommendation. The motion died due to lack of a second. Following further discussion, Mengler moved and Bieri seconded to bid out the removal of the tornado slide at Victory Park, per Park Board recommendation, and to have all playground equipment inspected, especially the merry-go-round at Water Tower Park. Motion carried with Smith and Brockmann opposing.
Ordinance 514-20, Amending Chapter 99 Regarding Sewer Rates. Ordinance 514-20 was introduced. 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. Puck moved and Smith seconded to approve the first reading. Roll call ayes: Puck, Smith, Brockmann, Bieri, and Mengler. Motion carried.
Public Works Department Report. Stagg presented a photo and reported on solutions to address the trip hazards on the public sidewalks adjacent to storm intakes along Memorial Road. Following discussion, Smith moved and Puck seconded for Stagg to proceed with the sidewalk repair as recommended. Motion carried.
Mayor’s Report. Mayor Kostichek urges all residents to complete the 2020 Census and stressed the importance of a complete and accurate count since it relates to some city funding for a period of ten years.
Council Member Comments. Brockmann questioned if the splash pad is disinfected daily. Stagg responded that there are signs posted at the parks that the equipment is not sanitized.
Puck moved and Smith seconded to adjourn at 6:58 p.m. Motion carried. All votes on motions were unanimous, unless noted.