April 15, 2024 Minutes

The semi-monthly meeting of the City Council of Walcott, Iowa, was held on Monday, April 15, 2024, at Walcott City Hall. Mayor John Kostichek called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Council members present: Everett Bieri, Harry Knutsen, and Jacob Puck. Kirk Koberg arrived at 6:05 p.m. Absent: Lisa Mengler. Staff present: Jeff Blake, Lisa Rickertsen, and Paul Stagg.

Approval of Agenda. Puck moved and Bieri seconded to approve the agenda. Motion carried.

Introduction of Audience/Public Comments. Ethan and Skylar Roling, Tim and Andrea Newcomb, Darryl Schwarz, Kurt Easton, Lisa Tauke, Chris Hebbel, Joanne Pohl, Jeremy Schaeffer, Lindsay Frantz, Kristal Schaefer, Brian and Lisa Garlock, and Brent Puck.  

Public Hearing on Fiscal Year Ending (FYE) 2025 Budget. Mayor Kostichek opened the public hearing on the budget for fiscal year ending June 30, 2025 (FYE 2025). Rickertsen stated the proposed tax levy tax rate is $10.13540, down from the current year’s rate at $10.59934. The budget includes water and sewer rate increases to cover costs associated with the maintenance and future improvements to the water and sewer systems and a garbage rate increase to cover the annual increase from the garbage contractor. Large expenditures include the sewer main lining project and water main replacements. No written comments were received. Kristal Schaefer inquired about the levy rate and growth in property assessments/values. Rickertsen responded the levy rate is decreasing and there was a large drop in the residential rollback (percentage of residential property that is taxable). Council Member Koberg arrived at 6:05 p.m. Bieri moved and Puck seconded to close the public hearing and resume the regular meeting. Motion carried.

Consent Agenda. Koberg moved and Bieri seconded to approve the consent agenda including the invoices, minutes from April 1, 2024 (special and regular meetings), March 2024 financial reports, and Resolution 2024-19, Transfer of Funds. Roll call ayes: Koberg, Bieri, Puck, and Knutsen. Motion carried.

Proposed Recreational Trail Extension – Phase 2. Rickertsen stated research of City documents indicates there was no mention of a future trail going on the west side of the north-south creek and the future land use map indicates the trail extension on the south and east sides of the creeks. She noted that City Committees make recommendations to the City Council and read a portion of minutes from 2005, noting recommendations from the Park Board and the former Recreational Trail Committee to accept the land donation in the Westbrook subdivisions for the phase 2 trail extension. Those minutes concluded with the land donation to be revisited when the final phase of the Westbrook subdivision is platted, which was platted in 2020. Stagg reported he contacted the City of Davenport and they do not replace the asphalt on the Duck Creek trail every other year, as stated by a resident at the last meeting. His report also included the following: actual distances of the trail to the creek and adjoining properties; floodplain development is on a case-by-case basis; the trail is a flat surface which does not impede water flow; explanation of utility easements on private property; and the ground the City acquired by donation is city-owned property and not an easement. Koberg expressed concerns (hazards) with the trail going north of the creek and into the compost facility area. Additional questions and concerns from the adjacent property owners were expressed, which includes the following: is there a need for the trail extension; costs to locate the trail to the north side of the creek; easement restrictions on properties; and a request to reconsider City regulations to allow items to be placed in easements. The Recreational Trail Advisory Committee is hosting a community meeting on May 15th at 6:30 p.m. at the Walcott Legion to discuss the proposed trail extension. Koberg moved and Bieri seconded that the City does not proceed with phase 2 of the trail until they have more community involvement or after the May 15th community meeting. Motion carried. The residents were thanked for attending the meeting. All audience left the meeting except for Lindsay Frantz and Brent Puck.

Resolution 2024-20, Approving the Adoption of the FYE 2025 Budget. Puck moved and Knutsen seconded to approve Resolution 2024-20, Approving the Adoption of the FYE 2025 Budget. Roll call ayes: Puck, Knutsen, Koberg, and Bieri. Motion carried. 

Personnel Policy Handbook.

  • Resolution 2024-21, Approving Amendments to the Personnel Policy Handbook for the City of Walcott Regarding Sick Leave Policy. Koberg moved and Knutsen seconded to approve Resolution 2024-21. Roll call ayes: Koberg, Knutsen, Puck, and Bieri. Motion carried.  
  • Medical Reimbursement Policy. Koberg moved and Bieri seconded to leave the current medical reimbursement policy as is. Motion carried.

Public Works Department Report. Roof Repairs on City-Owned Buildings. Stagg presented a project worksheet and recommended the City approve the bid from A.R.B. Construction Inc.Puck moved and Knutsen seconded to approve the roofing bid from A.R.B. Construction in the amount of $67,240.58. Motion carried. These roofs were damaged by hail last April.   

City Clerk’s Report. Set Public Hearing Date for FYE 2024 Budget Amendment. Knutsen moved and Koberg seconded to set the public hearing date for the FYE 2024 budget amendment for May 6, 2024, at 6:00 p.m. Motion carried.

Mayor’s Report. Mayor Kostichek thanked the residents, stating he wants to hear concerns and input from the community and hopes to work with the community to have this project (trail extension) go forward.   

Council Member Comments. Bieri and Koberg both expressed thanks and appreciation to the residents for attending the meeting and providing input.

Koberg moved and Knutsen seconded to adjourn at 7:12 p.m. Motion carried. All votes on motions were unanimous, unless noted.

April 15, 2024 Signed Minutes & Claims 

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