The semi-monthly meeting of the City Council of Walcott, Iowa, was held on Monday, the 7th day of July, 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 Latimer seconded to approve the consent agenda including the invoices, minutes from June 16, 2014 and June 23, 2014, Class A Liquor License Renewal for Walcott Legion Post #548, Class C Beer Permit renewals for Pilot Travel Center #268 and #043. Motion carried.
Audience. William Hudson, Gabrielle Belz, Beverly Burke-Pierson, Jill Hernandez, Bonnie Simatovich, Korry Kraft, Bridget Giegle, Audrey Hinds, Verlyn & Josie Dietz, Mitchel Sutherland, Lon Warnecke, Jackie Huston, and Kayla Sweeney.
- 5K Race & Street Closure. Mengler moved and Jackie Puck seconded to approve the 5K race route as submitted and approve the E. Bryant Street closure (race starting line), between Main & Henry Streets, from 5:00 a.m. : 9:00 a.m. on July 19th. Motion carried.
- Approval to Close E. Otis Street from Main Street to Downey Street. Jacob Puck moved and Latimer seconded to approve the closing of E. Otis Street from Main Street to Downey Street. Motion carried.
- Fireworks Donation. Latimer moved and Koehler seconded to approve the annual fireworks donation to Walcott Day Committee for $1,000. Motion carried.
Walcott Volunteer Firefighters Association. Lon Warnecke was present on behalf of the Walcott Volunteer Firefighters Association. Warnecke stated they are working in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce for their movie night on August 23rd and would like to sponsor a 2K run/walk for children in four divisions through eighth grade. He stated the route would be similar to last year's route and would be confined to the NE area of town. The 2K is expected to last for approximately twenty minutes. Warnecke stated he would like a Walcott Police Officer to lead the run and requested to have K-9 Titan present if available. Jackie Puck moved and Mengler seconded to approve the 2K run as discussed. Motion carried.
Walcott Fire Department Report. Bridget Geigle stated the Fire Department would like to start a Junior Explorer Program for kids ages 14 : 19. The program is part of the Boy Scouts of America, National Explorer Program, and would allow the Explorers an opportunity to become part of the department. Geigle reported the City Insurance Agent was contacted and had no issues with the proposed program. She also reported on some of the guidelines that will be established, including restrictions/attendance on different types of calls. Geigle stated they will be having an open house at the Fire Station for the public on August 17th from 4:00 : 6:00 p.m. A sign-up will be available for the program during the open house. She stated the program would start in January and the goal is to train each Explorer to a Firefighter 1 level. Koehler moved and Jacob Puck seconded to allow the Fire Department to proceed with the Junior Explorer Program. Motion carried.
Walcott Code Chapter 57 Regarding Pit Bulls. Audrey Hinds questioned why the council is considering a change to the ordinance regarding the prohibition of pit bulls, which was initially enacted in 1987 while she was a Council Member. Hinds stated that pit bulls are more dangerous than other breeds, bred to have a locked jaw, and cited recent deaths and maulings from pit bulls. Verlyn Dietz citied statistics and stated pit bulls don't warn you when they attack. He questioned if an exception is made to allow pit bulls will Walcott become a safe haven for pit bulls as they are not allowed in some surrounding communities. Mengler stated it was never affirmed that the ordinance would be changed and Attorney Schirman stated the council was taking input from all parties, following a request on May 19th to allow a pit bull in city limits. Mayor Kostichek stated he spoke with both of the Walcott Veterinary Clinics and one stated he was not in favor of the ban and the veterinarians at the other clinic felt the ban should stay in place. He also spoke to the City's Insurance Agent who stated that several insurance companies won't insure property owners with pit bulls and felt the current ordinance should be enforced. Following further discussion, Jackie Puck moved and Mengler seconded that Chapter 57, Dangerous Animals, prohibiting pit bulls, will remain as currently adopted. Motion carried.
S. Downey Street Water Main Project. Mengler moved and Jacob Puck seconded to approve payment #5, as recommended by the Project Engineer, to Ellsworth Excavating Inc., in the amount of $864.50. Motion carried.
W. Bryant Street Paving Improvements Project.
- Payment #1. Koehler moved and Latimer seconded to approve payment #1, as recommended by Project Engineer, to N.J. Miller In., in the amount of $59,821.26. Motion carried.
- Resolution 2014-25, Approving Change Order #1. Jackie Puck moved and Latimer seconded to approve Resolution 2014-25. Roll call ayes: Jackie Puck, Latimer, Mengler, Koehler, and Jacob Puck. Motion carried. Change order #1 includes the following: additional casing pipe for the storm sewer crossing for railroad as required by railroad company review, storm sewer manholes to relocate the proposed storm sewer away from existing sanitary sewer, and subgrade stabilization of soft areas on Rowe and Parker Streets. The total change order is $35,012, bringing the total estimated project cost to $698,964.75.
Ordinance 473-14, Amending the Official Zoning Map. Koehler moved and Jacob Puck seconded to approve the third reading of Ordinance 474-14. Roll call ayes: Koehler, Jacob Puck, Jackie Puck, Latimer, and Mengler. Motion carried. This ordinance amends the zoning on a portion of property located at 440 E. Memorial Road from R-1, Single Family Dwelling District, to SA, Suburban Agricultural District.
Ordinance 474-14, Amending Chapter 167, Pertaining to Accessory Buildings. Jacob Puck moved and Mengler seconded to approve the third reading of Ordinance 474-14. Roll call ayes: Jacob Puck, Mengler, Latimer, Koehler, and Jacob Puck. Motion carried. This ordinance clarifies the following:
- All garages must be accessed by a paved driveway (R-1 & R-2 Zoning Districts)
- Car ports shall be considered as a private garage and shall be attached to the primary structure or a detached garage and included in the total square footage. (R-1 & R-2 Zoning Districts)
- Larger accessory buildings allowed on 20,000 square feet lots can be utilized as garages.
Municipal Building/Property. As directed by the City Council during the June 23rd special meeting, letters were sent to Jill Hernandez and Korry Kraft, property owners adjacent to City Hall/Fire Station. Attorney Schirman stated he was contacted and received input from both Kraft and Hernandez. Kraft questioned why the City did not purchase his property last year before he acquired it. Mayor Kostichek stated a committee was formed last year but their recommendation to place a potential new municipal building adjacent to the current City Hall was not received until June. Kraft stated he needs the space and does not feel he could purchase another building with equal space for the same price. Jill Herandez, contract owner, and Bonnie Simatovitch, deed holder, of the house adjacent to City Hall/Fire Station, both stated they are not interested in selling the property and Ms. Hernandez stated she has been working on making improvements to the house and wants to remain in the house. Simatovitch questioned the use of eminent domain to obtain her property against her wishes. Mayor Kostichek stated the City is just trying to obtain input from the property owners at this time. Koehler stated he wants to do what is best for the City for the long-term results and it's a business decision. The City is currently trying to obtain information and look at all options. Attorney Schirman stated eminent domain is an option but would only be used as a last resort. Mayor Kostichek stated the City Council will continue to consider the options for a new municipal building.
Police Department Report. Chief Blake stated the Walcott Day Committee will be donating funds to purchase two tasers. Latimer moved and Jackie Puck seconded to approve the purchase of two tasers at a cost of $2,950. Motion carried.
Public Work's Report. Brockmann stated he is waiting for an additional bid to replace the sidewalk along N. Henry Street. He stated he feels it is unfair for the property owner, 205 E. Otis Street, to pay for the sidewalk replacement as it has been tilted for many years, mainly caused by semi and heavy equipment traffic from the property to the west. Brockmann will meet with the Street Committee, Jackie Puck and Latimer, and the property owner, Mitchel Sutherland, at 6:00 p.m. on July 17th.
Attorney Report. Discussion was held on the payment request from Hawkeye Land Company, owner of the railroad right-of-way, regarding the storm sewer pipeline crossing. The topic will be placed on the July 21st meeting agenda.
Mayor's Report. Mayor Kostichek thanked the citizens in audience for attending.
Koehler moved and Jacob Puck seconded to adjourn at 7:54 p.m. Motion carried. All votes on motions were unanimous, unless noted.