The semi-monthly meeting of the City Council of Walcott, Iowa, was held on Monday, the 20th day of July, 2015, 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, Linda Rivers, and Tom Schirman.
Approval of Agenda. Jackie Puck moved and Mengler seconded to approve the agenda. Motion carried.
Audience. Verlyn and Josie Dietz, Larry Koberg, Kent Arp, Gene Meyer, Brent Arp, Randy Robb, and Kirk Koberg. Employees Jody Siebel, Scott Brockmann, Neal Krebs, and Adam Hill were also in the audience.
Consent Agenda. Jacob Puck moved and Mengler seconded to approve the consent agenda including the invoices and June 2015 financial reports. Motion carried. Mengler moved and Jackie Puck seconded to approve Resolution 2015-27, Transfer of Funds. Roll call ayes: Mengler, Jackie Puck, Jacob Puck, Latimer, and Koehler. Motion carried.
Minutes from July 6, 2015. Mengler moved and Jackie Puck seconded to approve the minutes from July 6, 2015. Koehler and Latimer abstained due to absence from meeting. Motion carried.
RAGBRAI : Street Closures. Jackie Puck moved and Latimer seconded to close a portion of Main Street, between James Street and Otis Street, and the streets around Victory Park during RAGBRAI on July 25th. Motion carried.
Employee Benefits/Personnel Policy.
Health Insurance. Roger Robb (Group Specialist of GBL) presented different plan options for employee medical insurance and discussed different ways for the City to save on costs. Koehler stated when the discussion regarding changes to medical benefits started, it was meant for new employees. Robb reported on proposed changes to the health insurance regulations. Following further discussion, Jackie Puck stated the health insurance benefits should remain as is and it can be addressed later when the laws change. Mengler moved and Koehler seconded to not make changes to the health insurance benefits. Motion carried.
Sick/Vacation Leave. Information has not yet been received from the employment law attorney regarding proposed changes to the sick leave policy for new employees. Mengler moved and Jacob Puck seconded to table the sick leave policy. Motion carried. Koehler questioned the vacation leave policy, specifically allowing employees to accumulate/carry over up to 80 hours each year at their anniversary date. Brockmann stated his employees are cross trained, allowing everyone to take their vacation if they choose to. Following further discussion, no further changes will be made to the vacation policy.
Vision Committee. Committee chairperson, Larry Koberg, reported on the minutes from their July 8th meeting. The committee will be renamed to Walcott Hearts and Hands Foundation Committee and will be no longer be a city committee once they are designated a 501(c)(3) organization. Questions arose on the hanging flower baskets. The committee did previous work on this and will provide contact information to the city for next year’s flower baskets on the new decorative light poles on N. Main Street.
Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau Contribution. Koehler moved and Jackie Puck seconded to approve the annual $1,000 contribution request, as budgeted, to Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau. Motion carried.
Main Street Enhancement Streetscape Project. Koehler questioned if Brockmann had contacted the project engineer and informed him that Brockmann should be contacted regarding the project instead of the Building Official, Linda Rivers. Brockmann responded that he did contact the engineer and said to contact him. He stated he should handle the administration part and needs to be included in the project. Koehler reviewed the minutes from May 18th when Brockmann stated the City needed to hire an engineer for construction observation as he can’t be fair to the contractor since he doesn’t believe in the project, and the June 1st minutes when Council appointed Rivers to do the daily construction observation/inspections and to contact the engineer with items as needed. Mengler stated Brockmann was present during the June 1st meeting and he did not comment about the appointment at that time. Brockmann reiterated concerns about not being involved with the project, including the pre-construction meeting, which was held when he was on vacation. Council reconfirmed that Rivers is the city contact person for the project. Brockmann left the meeting. Rivers reported that she will email all departments regarding project status and updates so everyone is kept informed. There was discussion regarding conflicts between departments.
Building Department Report. Rivers reported all rental inspections are completed and reported on recent tree inspections. Rivers stated she contacted an Iowa State Extension consulting arborist regarding a tree on private property that could be a danger to adjoining property or passing motorists or pedestrians. The arborist felt that a significant weather event would probably cause the tree to come down. Council consensus was to have Rivers contact the homeowner and pursue removal of the tree.
Police Department Report. Mengler commended the police officers that worked during the Walcott Day events.
City Clerk’s Department Report. Rickertsen reported Iowa 80 Truckstop appealed the tax assessments for two of their parcels. The consent order reduced one of the property valuations by $1,667,060. Rickertsen stated the reduction starts with the 2013 assessment year which was paid in the last fiscal year; therefore, property tax revenue will be lower than projected for this year to account for the reduction for both the 2013 and 2014 assessment years during this fiscal year.
City Attorney Report.
South Main Street Damage. Attorney Schirman stated he believes the City currently has no recourse on the recent street damage done to a portion of South Main Street, south of Memorial Road, as a result of heavy truck traffic. A lengthy discussion was held on possible options to prevent this in the future, including implementing load limits and traffic pattern restrictions. Koehler expressed his frustration and disappointment regarding the damage that resulted. Council consensus was to send a letter to the property owner and Jackie Puck offered to make personal contact with the owner.
Solid Waste and Recycling Contract Renewal. Attorney Schirman reported the concerns he had with the proposed contract with Allied Waste d/b/a Republic Services have been addressed. Koehler questioned two items he felt should be deleted in their entirety. Schirman will contact the company representative.
Questions/Concerns. It was reported there is a pot hole that should be addressed prior to RAGBRAI and the streets needs swept.
Mengler moved and Jacob Puck seconded to adjourn at 8:08 p.m. Motion carried. All votes on motions were unanimous, unless noted.