The semi-monthly meeting of the City Council of Walcott, Iowa, was held on Monday, August 7, 2023, at Walcott City Hall. Mayor John Kostichek called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Council members present: Everett Bieri, Harry Knutsen, Kirk Koberg, Lisa Mengler, and Jacob Puck. Staff present: Jeff Blake, Lisa Rickertsen, and Paul Stagg.
Approval of Agenda. Knutsen moved and Puck seconded to approve the agenda. Motion carried.
Introduction of Audience/Public Comments. No comments at this time.
Consent Agenda. Mengler moved and Bieri seconded to approve the consent agenda including the invoices, minutes from July 18, 2023, Fiscal Year Ending (FYE) 2023 Annual Financial Report, and the FYE 2023 Investment Report. Motion carried.
Minutes from July 3, 2023. Koberg moved and Knutsen seconded to approve the minutes from July 3, 2023. Motion carried with Puck abstaining due to absence from meeting.
- Renewal of Class C Retail Alcohol License for The Coliseum LLC (08/05/23 – 08/04/23). Puck moved and Knutsen seconded to approve the renewal of the Class C alcohol license for The Coliseum LLC. Motion carried.
- Amend Class C License to include Outdoor Service Area for August 12, 2023. Mengler moved and Bieri seconded to approve the outdoor service area for August 12, 2023. Motion carried. The outdoor service area includes the public sidewalk and northern half of E. Bryant Street from the Coliseum’s property lines from west to east.
- Street Closure Request on E. Bryant Street, between Main Street and Henry Street, on August 12, 2023. Knutsen moved and Mengler seconded to approve closing a portion of E. Bryant Street, between Main Street and Henry Street, on August 12, 2023, as presented. Motion carried. The street closure will be from Noon – 6:00 p.m. on August 12th and is for a fundraiser at the Coliseum.
Approval to Remove Old Water Tower. Stagg presented a project worksheet to dismantle and remove the water tower at Water Tower Park. Mengler moved and Puck seconded to approve the low bid from Iseler Demolition, Inc., in the amount of $24,700 to dismantle and remove the water tower at Water Tower Park. Motion carried.
Engineering Services for Recreational Trail (Phase 2) Design Phase. A proposal from IMEG for engineering services for phase 2 of the recreational trail was presented, which includes a topographic survey for $9,000 and preliminary engineering plans for $16,000. Knutsen moved and Bieri seconded to approve the proposal from IMEG for the surveying and preliminary engineering services for phase 2 of the recreational trail project. Motion carried.
Discussion/Possible Action to Allow Police Chief to Drive Squad to and from his Personal Residence. Koberg requested the Police Chief be allowed to take his squad home at the end of each shift. He stated the Blue Grass Police Chief is allowed to drive his squad home so he can respond to emergencies quickly if he is off duty and he feels our Police Chief should be able to do the same. Mengler reported during the past four years, payroll records indicate Chief Blake was only paid for a total of 9 off-duty responses, of which 7 were marked as non-emergencies and 2 were unknown. Mengler stated other law enforcement entities can and do respond to Walcott for emergencies. It was discussed that Chief Blake was previously allowed to drive his squad home but it was due to, and only during, the time the City had a police service dog. The City’s insurance agent, Brent Arp, was present and stated there would be no increase in insurance costs but it would increase the City’s liability due to added exposure. Following further discussion, Koberg moved to amend the Personnel Policy Handbook to allow the Police Chief to drive his squad to and from his personal residence. Motion died due to lack of a second.
Resolution 2023-34, Approving Social Media Policy. Rickertsen reported on the proposed social media policy and the intent to have an official City Facebook account to disseminate information to the public. Mengler moved and Puck seconded to approve Resolution 2023-34, Approving Social Media Policy. Roll call ayes: Mengler, Puck, Bieri, Koberg, and Knutsen. Motion carried.
Ordinance 541-23, Amending Chapter 165 Pertaining to Billboards. This ordinance is for changes pertaining to billboard sign requirements, as recommended by the Planning & Zoning Commission. Bieri moved and Mengler seconded to approve the 2nd reading to adopt Ordinance 541-23, Amending Chapter 165. Roll call ayes: Mengler, Bieri, Puck, Koberg, and Knutsen. Motion carried.
Ordinance 542-23, Amending Chapter 167 Pertaining to Accessory Buildings and Stables. This ordinance is for changes pertaining to the location of accessory/storage buildings, shipping container restrictions, and removing “Stables” as a permitted use. Puck moved and Knutsen seconded to approve the 2nd reading to adopt Ordinance 542-23, Amending Chapter 167. Roll call ayes: Puck, Knutsen, Koberg, Bieri, and Mengler. Motion carried.
Public Works Department Report. Stagg provided an update on the W. Otis Street project and reported a flag pole is missing from Wescott Park. He also reported the Park Board met and agreed to remove the row of hedges on the west side of the playground equipment at Wescott Park if the adjoining property owner obtains a permit to install a fence on their property. Fences are allowed to be located on the property line and since the hedges are close to the property line they will likely interfere with the fence. Mayor Kostichek questioned if the W. Otis Street project will eliminate the puddle on the northwest corner of the Main & Otis Street intersection. Discussion was held on the proposed ADA ramp projects and obtaining bids this winter. Mengler reported on a few properties with overgrown weeds/sidewalk obstructions.
City Clerk’s Report. Rickertsen stated three financial reports were revised to include a compounded interest payment of $3,092.05 to a CD in April. There were no notifications from the bank and the CD was not available to view on the City’s online account. Mengler moved and Knutsen seconded to approve the revised financial reports for the months of April, May, and June. Motion carried. Rickertsen reported nomination papers for eligible electors desiring to become a candidate for the City’s election on November 7th are available at City Hall.
Stagg reported that Walcott was the community spotlight in the summer edition of the Iowa Rural Water Association’s Water Street Journal.
Bieri moved and Puck seconded to adjourn at 6:49 p.m.