The semi-monthly meeting of the City Council of Walcott, Iowa, was held on Monday, July 3, 2023, at Walcott City Hall. Mayor John Kostichek called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Council members present: Kirk Koberg, Harry Knutsen, and Lisa Mengler. Everett Bieri participated by phone. Absent: Jacob Puck. Staff present: Jackie Huston, Jeff Blake, Tabetha Wright, and Paul Stagg. Public Works employees, Jamie Poggenpohl and Neal Krebs attended for the Brus hearing.
Huston introduced Tabetha Wright, the newly hired Deputy City Clerk, who will replace Huston upon retirement on July 14th.
Approval of Agenda. Knutsen moved and Koberg seconded to approve the agenda. Motion carried.
Introduction of Audience/Public Comments. No comments.
Consent Agenda. Mengler moved and Koberg seconded to approve the consent agenda including the invoices and minutes from June 19, 2023, with two corrections. Knutsen stated that only one section of the bridge sidewalk had been repaired and Bieri had mentioned the signs were painted. Motion carried.
Minutes from June 22, 2023. Koberg moved and Knutsen seconded to approve the minutes from June 22, 2023. Motion carried with Mengler abstaining due to absence from meeting.
Andrew Brus – Appeal Hearing for Golf Cart Permit Revocation. Chief Blake read the revocation notice which included two violations within three months and stated the order and rules for the hearing and stated the hearing was being recorded. Stagg, Public Works Director, explained they were responding to a water main break on June 20th on W. Bryant Street and the intersection of W. Bryant and S. Rowe was cordoned off with barricades, cones, and City vehicles with flashing lights on. He presented a map showing the location of vehicles, barricading, excavation, and Brus’ golf cart path through the repair area. Neal Krebs and Jamie Poggenpohl, Public Works employees, confirmed that Stagg’s map was accurate and stated they had placed the cones in the places indicated on the map. Both confirmed that Brus had driven through the cones and through the repair area. Brus stated that he did not notice any cones. Aaron Hamilton with Needham Excavating stated he was the backhoe operator and there were cones or barricades around the intersection. He saw the golf cart drive through the repair area and he is irritated by citizens entering a construction area due to safety concerns. Zoe Needham with Needham Excavating and Hamilton confirmed that the map presented by Stagg was accurate and that Brus had entered and exited the repair area through the cones and past the dump truck. Brus stated his disagreement with the location of the excavation and vehicles shown on Stagg’s map. He presented a map showing what he thought the locations were. Both Hamilton and Needham disagreed with Brus’ map and again confirmed that Stagg’s map indicated the accurate locations. Brus read his appeal letter indicating that he was just curious about the excavation, did not see any cones around the repair area, and just drove around the corner from W. Bryant onto S. Rowe Street and was not near any vehicles. Chief Blake confirmed that the vehicles were located as indicated on Stagg’s map when he arrived. Mengler asked Brus if he saw the cones when he drove through them and he responded he did not. Koberg questioned the actual excavation site since they were in different locations on the two maps. Stagg confirmed that it was in the intersection and Brus disagreed. Mengler moved and Knutsen seconded to table the hearing for a short time to allow Chief Blake to bring a picture back showing the repaired concrete panel’s location. Motion carried.
Walcott Day Events.
Parade Approval and Temporary Closure of Route Streets. Mengler moved and Koberg seconded to approve the Walcott Day Parade route, temporary closure of route streets, and to include no parking on the south side of E. Parkview Drive and the west side of N. Downey Street on July 15, 2023. Motion carried.
Street Closures. Koberg moved and Knutsen seconded to approve closing N. Henry Street, between James and Lincoln Streets; E. Otis Street, between Main and Downey Streets; N. Downey Street, between James and Otis Streets; and E. James Street, between Henry and Downey Streets on July 15, 2023. Motion carried.
Fireworks Contribution. Mengler moved and Bieri seconded to approve a contribution of $1,000 to the Walcott Day Committee for the fireworks display. Motion carried.
Andrew Brus hearing continued. Chief Blake returned and showed everyone the picture indicating the location of the excavation was where Stagg’s map had indicated. Mengler questioned the distance between cones. Poggenpohl indicated it was wide enough for a golf cart. Stagg stated they were 42” cones. Koberg stated that Brus went through the cones and around the City pickup with lights flashing, but asked if the Council could reduce the length of the revocation. Huston stated that the City Attorney indicated that under the current Code they would have to revoke for 24 months, however if the Council agreed to change the Code, they could continue the decision until the Code could be changed. All the Council members thought the 24 month required revocation was excessive. Knutsen moved and Koberg seconded to delay the revocation decision until the next meeting and requested a code change be prepared to allow the Council to have discretion regarding the length of revocation. Motion carried.
Walcott Day Events.
5K Race & Temporary Street Closures. Koberg moved and Knutsen seconded to approve the 5K race route on July 15, 2023, as discussed. Motion carried.
Police Department Part-time Wages. Due to the pay differences between officers paid by the City and those paid by the Walcott Day Committee, Mengler moved and Koberg seconded to approve a special wage of $29.49/hour for part-time police officers working for the City during Walcott Day events on July 14th and 15th. Motion carried.
Approval to sell food at Prairie View Park on Friday, July 14th. Koberg moved and Bieri seconded to allow the Walcott Lions Club to sell food at Prairie View Park on July 14th. Motion carried.
Approval to close Heritage Recreational Trail for Kids Run and Fireworks on July 14th. Bieri moved and Mengler seconded to close Heritage Recreational Trail at Prairie View Park for the kids run and fireworks on July 14th, with a rain date of July 15th. Motion carried.
Lincoln Street Improvements Project. Resolution 2023-32, Accepting Improvements and Authorizing Final Payment to Needham Excavating, Inc. for $162,889.67. Mengler questioned if the punch list had been completed and Stagg confirmed that it had. Koberg moved and Mengler seconded to approve Resolution 2023-32 as recommended by the project engineer. Motion carried with unanimous roll call vote.
Ordinance 540-23, Amending Chapter 69 Concerning Angle Parking and No Parking Zone – 2nd reading. Mengler moved and Bieri seconded to approve the 2nd reading of Ordinance 540-23. Motion carried with unanimous roll call vote.
Police Department Report. Chief Blake reported that the new squad would not be available until September.
Public Works Department Report. Stagg reported on an individual interested in the outlot on the north side of E. James Street wanted to build a house and an accessory building on the property. Sanitary sewer is not available within 200 feet of the property, so a septic tank could be installed, unless the Council would approve running the line to within 200 feet. The Council determined the sewer line for just one home would be cost prohibitive, but questioned the possibility of rezoning the property from SA to R-1. Stagg stated that he was upset that the Council was considering giving Mr. Brus less than the maximum length of revocation for his violation. He expressed his concern for the City employees’ safety when working in a repair zone and considered Brus’ actions by entering the repair zone to be severe enough to warrant the 24 month revocation. Koberg stated the area could have been secured better.
It was requested the street light by the beer garden for Walcott Day could be disconnected for that night. It was a Council consensus that the light could be disconnected by a licensed electrician for July 15th. Bieri wanted to make sure the bumps on the recreational trail would be fixed prior to the Kids Run on July 14th.
City Clerk’s Report. Huston stated a request had been made to allow the Historical Society to borrow the painting of Bredenbek to display during Walcott Day. Council consensus was to have the Public Works Department handle the transport of the painting to the Historical Society for Walcott Day.
Council Member Comments. Koberg questioned if the dawn to dusk restriction for golf carts could be lifted for July 14th for the fireworks. Chief Blake responded there is a state law and it can’t be exempted by the City. Knutsen said one of the bridge sidewalk panels was temporarily patched, but the other three need repaired. Stagg stated his intends to replace all four corners this summer. The Council thanked Huston for her service to the City.
Koberg moved and Knutsen seconded to adjourn at 7:15 p.m.