The semi-monthly meeting of the City Council of Walcott, Iowa, was held on Monday, the 3rd day of February, 2014, at Walcott City Hall. Mayor John Kostichek called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Council members present were: Tim Koehler, Virgil Wayne Latimer, Lisa Mengler, Jackie Puck, and Jacob Puck. Absent: None. City employees present: Jeff Blake, John Brockmann, Lisa Rickertsen, and Tom Schirman.
Jackie Puck moved and Mengler seconded to approve the agenda. Motion carried.
Consent Agenda. Koehler moved and Jacob Puck seconded to approve the consent agenda including the invoices, minutes from January 20, 2014, minutes from January 27, 2014, and the liquor license renewal for Gramma's Kitchen and The Checkered Flag. Motion carried.
Iowa U.S. Route 6 Renewal. Discussion was held on the U.S. Route 6 Tourist Association renewal. Council requested further information on the organization and their activities. Jackie Puck moved and Koehler seconded to table the renewal until further information is obtained. Motion carried.
Ordinance 469-14, Amending Chapter 125, Pertaining to Mobile Home Park Regulations. Jackie Puck introduced and moved to approve the first reading of Ordinance 469-14. Seconded by Latimer. Roll call ayes: Jackie Puck, Latimer, Mengler, Koehler, and Jacob Puck. Motion carried.
FYE 2015 Budget. Discussion was held on the proposed budget for FYE 2015 (July 1, 2014 : June 30, 2015). Rickertsen recommended increasing the tax levy rate from $10.00 to $10.12 due to the declining general fund balance and to allow for continued transfers to reserve funds for future equipment, vehicles, and projects. Projected vehicles/equipment purchases for FYE 2015 totals $585,000 and includes a new fire truck, snow plow, and pickup truck. Capital projects budgeted for FYE 2015 total $1,660,000. Rickertsen presented information on the rollback and changes to Iowa's property tax system. She explained that if the assessed values remain the same, residential property owners will see an increase in taxes, even without a levy rate increase, due to the rollback figures for FYE 2015, and commercial and industrial property owners will see a decrease. Mengler moved and Jackie Puck seconded to increase the tax levy rate to $10.12 for FYE 2015. Motion carried. This is the first levy rate increase since FYE 2008. A $.12 levy increase on a residential property with an assessed valuation of $100,000 would cost the homeowner approximately $6.50 for the entire year. Proprietary Funds (sewer, water, and garbage) were discussed and Rickertsen recommended increasing the sewer rate $.20 – $.25 per 1,000 gallons. Koehler moved and Jackie Puck seconded to increase the sewer rate $.25 per 1,000 gallons effective with the July 1, 2014 bills. Motion carried. Minimum bills (1,400 gallons and less) will increase $.35/month and an average bill of 5,000 gallons will increase $1.25/month. The public hearing for the FYE 2015 budget will be March 3, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.
Police Department Report. Discussion was held on the snow emergency procedures and the difficulty in plowing streets with cars parked on them. During a snow emergency, all vehicles and equipment shall be parked on the odd-numbered side of the street for odd-numbered calendar dates and on the even numbered side of the street for even-numbered dates. Even though an emergency is not declared it would be beneficial for residents to adhere to the policy during any snow fall. Chief Blake gave an update on the K9 squad.
City Clerk's Report. Rickertsen reported she was contacted in regards to selling the property at 1113 N. Main Street for commercial purposes. Council encouraged staff to pursue the inquiry. She also reported that due to recent changes to the Urban Renewal (TIF) laws, plan amendments are now required for all projects and rebates. She recommended council attend a meeting in Durant with Attorney John Danos to discuss the TIF regulations and changes on Wednesday February 26th. Rickertsen will contact Danos to schedule a private meeting with him regarding potential projects and rebates. Rickertsen also reported that five bids were received for the dangerous building (barn) demolition project. The topic will be on the next regular agenda. Attorney Schirman will research if staff costs can be included with the cost assessed to the property owner.
Questions/Concerns. Mengler questioned the status of the Meier property/project. It was reported that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is in the process of determining elevations for the property. Rickertsen stated that the Floodplain maps are prepared by FEMA and are available to the public online. The City Engineer determined part of the lot may be in the floodplain area during his Site Plan review. During discussion, it was noted that the City is enthused about the proposed project and the City's proposed Main Street Enhancement project will help provide safe pedestrian access to the north Main Street area. Brockmann reported he is waiting for response for asbestos abatement for the property at the NW corner of Main and Lincoln Streets that the City recently purchased.
Jake Puck moved and Latimer seconded to adjourn at 7:25 p.m. Motion carried. All votes on motions were unanimous, unless noted.