The semi-monthly meeting of the City Council of Walcott, Iowa, was held on Monday, the 15th day of March, 2021, at Walcott City Hall. Mayor John Kostichek called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Council members present: Everett Bieri, Lisa Mengler, Jacob Puck, and Larry Smith. Absent: None. City staff present: Scott Bengfort, Lisa Rickertsen, and Paul Stagg. Due to COVID-19, this meeting was held electronically via conference call, permitted under the Iowa Code, Chapter 21.8, which allows an electronic meeting where individuals may participate remotely when an in-person meeting is impossible or impractical. Call-in information was provided to the public on the meeting agenda notice.
Approval of Agenda. Mengler moved and Bieri seconded to approve the agenda. Motion carried.
Introduction of Audience/Public Comments. No comments.
Public Hearings. Mayor Kostichek opened the public hearing on the budget for fiscal year ending June 30, 2022 (FYE 2022). Rickertsen stated the proposed budget includes a levy tax rate increase of $.04143, which will provide the same tax levy dollars as the current year. Rickertsen reported the valuations for computing taxes did decrease but overall the City’s property valuations increased. The decrease for computing taxes is due to a shift in commercial property valuations to pay the tax increment financing rebates for the next fiscal year. The budget includes a water rate increase to cover costs associated with the maintenance and future improvements to the water system and a garbage rate increase to cover the annual rate increase from the garbage contractor. No written or other comments were received. Smith moved and Puck seconded to close the public hearing and open the public hearing on rezoning a portion of property owned by Ossian, Inc, at 111 N. Blue Grass Road, from S-A, Suburban Agriculture, to M-1, Light Industrial. Motion carried. Rickertsen reported the Planning & Zoning Commission held a public hearing for the rezoning request on March 8th, and they recommended approving the rezoning. Mike Ossian was present and reported the rezoning will allow them to further develop their property. Mengler thanked Ossian for continuing to develop the property. No written or other comments were received. Puck moved and Mengler seconded to close the public hearing and resume the regular meeting. Motion carried.
Consent Agenda. Mengler moved and Smith seconded to approve the consent agenda including the invoices, minutes from March 1, 2021, February 2021 financial reports, and set Spring Clean-Up Day for May 1, 2021, from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Motion carried.
Resolution 2021-10, Approving the Adoption of the FYE 2022 Budget. Puck moved and Smith seconded to approve Resolution 2021-10 as proposed. Roll call ayes: Puck, Smith, Mengler, and Bieri. Motion carried. The levy tax rate for FYE 2022 is set at 10.12383.
Ordinance 517-21, Amending the Official Zoning Map. Mengler introduced and moved and Puck seconded to approve the first reading of Ordinance 517-21. Roll call ayes: Mengler, Puck, Bieri, and Smith. Motion carried. This rezones a portion of property owned by Ossian, Inc, at 111 N. Blue Grass Road, from S-A, Suburban Agriculture, to M-1, Light Industrial.
Review of Proposed Changes to Chapter 155, Above Ground Storage Tanks. Stagg reported that Bengfort researched and presented proposed changes to Chapter 155 that align more with the Code Iowa and fire codes. Smith moved and Bieri seconded to proceed with an ordinance change for Chapter 155, as proposed, for the next meeting. Motion carried.
Review/Deactivate Item 6 (use of fire meeting room) of the Public Health Disaster Emergency Policy. Rickertsen reported she received requests from local organizations to utilize the fire meeting room. She stated the Fire Chief had no issues with allowing them to utilize the room again. Mengler moved and Puck seconded to deactivate section 6 of the Public Health Disaster Emergency Policy. Motion carried.
Downey Street Water Main Improvements Project – Resolution 2021-11, Approving Contract & Bonds. Rickertsen reported the City Engineer has reviewed and approved the contract and required bonds for the Downey Street Water Main Improvements Project. Bieri moved and Puck seconded to approve Resolution 2021-11. Roll call ayes: Bieri, Puck, Mengler, and Smith. Motion carried. The contract is with Hagerty Earthworks, LLC for $130,082.35. Stagg stated he would set up a pre-construction meeting with the contractor and residents along the project.
City Council Vacancy. Due to John Brockmann’s resignation from the City Council at the last meeting, Smith moved and Mengler seconded to fill the vacancy by appointment during the April 19, 2021, council meeting at 6:00 p.m. at Walcott City Hall. Motion carried. Appointment forms will be available at City Hall and from the City’s website.
Police Department Report. Rickertsen reported that Chief Blake received a quote for a trade-in value of $15,200 from Stew Hansen Dodge for the 2016 Dodge Ram. Mengler moved and Puck seconded to trade-in the truck with Stew Hansen Dodge when purchasing the new squad. Motion carried.
Public Works Department Report. Stagg stated the Public Works laborer job description needed updated and he presented revisions based on a template from Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities. Mengler moved and Puck seconded to approve Resolution 2021-12, Approving Job Description for Public Works Laborer/Heavy Equipment Operator. Roll call ayes: Mengler, Puck, Bieri, and Smith. Motion carried.
City Clerk Report. Rickertsen reported on a preliminary estimate of approximately $226,000 that the City of Walcott could possibly receive as part of the American Rescue Plan, which could potentially be used for water and sewer upgrades. She also reported that the Easter Egg Hunt will be on March 28th at Water Tower Park.
Mengler moved and Bieri seconded to adjourn at 6:28 p.m. Motion carried. All votes on motions were unanimous, unless noted.