The semi-monthly meeting of the City Council of Walcott, Iowa, was held on Monday, the 18th day of February, 2013, at Walcott City Hall. Mayor Jim Couper called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Council members present were: Tim Koehler, John Kostichek, Lisa Mengler, Jackie Puck, and Jacob Puck. Absent: None. City employees present: Jeff Blake, John Brockmann, Jackie Huston, Lisa Rickertsen, and Tom Schirman.
Jackie Puck moved and Mengler seconded to approve the agenda. Motion carried.
Consent Agenda. Kostichek moved and Jacob Puck seconded to approve the consent agenda including the invoices, minutes from February 4, 2013, and the January 2013 Financial Reports. Motion carried.
Audience. Wayne Latimer, Verlyn Dietz, and Josie Dietz.
Planning & Zoning Commission Recommendation. Jackie Huston, Planning & Zoning Administrator, was present to discuss the recommendation from the Planning & Zoning Commission to deny the request from John Wegener to deed over the right-of-way that runs through their family farm ground. Commission members voted to recommend the City retain the right-of-way for potential development. Koehler moved and Mengler seconded to accept the recommendation from the Planning & Zoning Commission. Motion carried. Discussion was also held on the questions and concerns expressed from the Planning & Zoning Commission regarding issues with driveways near the school being blocked during school functions and safety issues of children crossing from the school to vehicles parked on the north side of James Street. Brockmann will contact the City Engineer to look at the feasibility of filling in the ditch on the north side of James Street.
Mack Road Improvements. Rickertsen reported the developer's project engineer submitted a letter stating the public improvements were completed and recommended the City accept the improvements. Brockmann had no issues with the recommendation and Attorney Schirman stated the City Engineer was not asked to inspect the improvements during the construction process and therefore did not provide a recommendation. Rickertsen stated she will prepare a resolution accepting improvements for a future meeting, following receipt of a revised maintenance bond she requested from the developer.
W. Bryant Street/Powers Street Improvements Project. Proposed Sidewalk Assessments. Rickertsen presented maps of the properties along the project that currently do not have sidewalks and questioned proposed assessment locations. Following discussion, Rickertsen will inform the City Engineer of the locations so he can prepare the required preliminary assessment plat and estimated cost. The City will send letters to affected property owners once the plat and estimated cost is received.
Proposed City Hall/Police Department Renovation at 1113 N. Main Street. Verlyn and Josie Dietz presented their concerns with the proposed renovations. Their concerns included the high renovation cost and the library's disinterest in relocating to the basement of the building. The Dietzs also were concerned about an effort by some citizens to build a new city hall in the downtown area. They felt that this was not what the majority of the citizens wanted as expressed through the findings of the Downtown Assessment report. Mayor Couper reported the City is following a decision making process on the proposed renovation of the building which included a design phase with the committee and architect. The City Council is now using that information to determine the feasibility of the project. The Mayor and City Council responded to the Dietzs' concerns stating that the estimated renovation cost that was presented at the public Visioning meeting in January 2012 exceeded $1 .2 million. The current estimated renovation cost is nearly $1.1 million (not including purchase cost). They noted that the Scott County Library Board is an independent board that makes decisions regarding the locations and needs of all library branches and therefore the City of Walcott cannot dictate where the library will be located or how much space they require. Last summer the Library Board Director requested an optimal size of 5,500 square feet and the available basement area of this building is only 1,900 square feet. Rickertsen explained that the renovation costs include updates to meet energy efficiency standards and the American Disability Act requirements for governmental buildings. Following further discussion, the council concurred to continue with the decision making process by preparing information to update the citizens on the facts and status of the project. Information will be prepared and brought to a future council meeting.
Resolution 2013-7, Accepting Improvements and Authorizing Final Payment of the North Lift Station Improvements Project. Kostichek moved and Jacob Puck seconded to approve Resolution 2013-7. Roll call ayes: Kostichek, Jacob Puck, Koehler, Mengler, and Jackie Puck. Motion carried. The final payment of $1,000 will be paid to Jim Schroeder Construction. The project construction costs totaled $363,418.05.
Resolution 2013-8, Approving Wage for Crossing Guard. Koehler moved and Mengler seconded to approve Resolution 2013-8. Roll call ayes: Koehler, Mengler, and Kostichek. Jackie Puck and Jacob Puck abstained due to family relationship to the individual hired. Motion carried.
Ordinance 461-13, Amending Chapter 92 Regarding Water Rates. Jackie Puck introduced Ordinance 461-13 and moved to approve the first reading. Kostichek seconded. Roll call ayes: Jackie Puck, Kostichek, Mengler, Koehler, and Jacob Puck. Motion carried. The rates will increase $.50 per 1,000 gallons of water usage, beginning with the July 1st bill.
Ordinance 462-13, Amending Chapter 65 Pertaining to Four-Way Stop Intersections. Discussion was held on the safety concerns at the crosswalk at Main and James Streets and the difficulty of installing stop signs due to the intersection layout. Mengler introduced Ordinance 462-13 and moved to approve the first reading. Kostichek seconded. Roll call ayes: Mengler, Kostichek, Koehler, Jacob Puck and Jackie Puck. Motion carried. This ordinance will add a four-way stop at the intersection of Main and James Streets. Brockmann will obtain costs on installing a blinking light at the intersection.
Police Department Report. Chief Blake reported his department is following up on illegally parked vehicles on city streets.
Public Work's Department Report. Brockmann reported he is obtaining costs on an engine replacement for a City dump truck. Jacob Puck questioned the pine trees lying near the pond at Prairie Park. Brockmann responded the trees will be placed in the pond this spring for fish habitat.
City Clerk's Report. Rickertsen reported on the building department activities for the month of January.
Questions/Concerns. Koehler expressed concerns and requested an update be presented to the council regarding the upcoming purchase of a Fire Department vehicle. Rickertsen will invite a fire department representative to a March council meeting.
Jackie Puck moved and Mengler seconded to adjourn at 7:56 p.m. Motion carried. All votes on motions were unanimous, unless noted.