The semi-monthly meeting of the City Council of Walcott, Iowa, was held on Monday, the 2nd day of March, 2020, at Walcott City Hall. Mayor John Kostichek called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Council members present were: John Brockmann, Lisa Mengler, Jacob Puck, and Larry Smith. Absent: Everett Bieri. City staff present: Jeff Blake, Paul Stagg, and Lisa Rickertsen.
Approval of Agenda. Smith moved and Puck seconded to approve the agenda. Motion carried.
Introduction of Audience/Public Comments. No comments at this time.
Consent Agenda. Puck moved and Smith seconded to approve the consent agenda including the invoices, minutes from February 17, 2020, and Spring Clean-Up Day as May 2, 2020, from 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Motion carried.
Downey Street Water Main Project. Rickertsen expressed concerns with the projected water fund balance if the project proceeds as budgeted. Stagg stated the estimated cost of replacing two blocks of water main is higher than anticipated. Brockmann suggested utilizing the water main pipe that has been stored next to the Public Works building for many years. Following discussion, Brockmann moved and Mengler seconded to proceed with the first block (James Street to Otis Street) and to see if the existing water main pipe is usable. Motion carried.
IDNR Tree Seedlings Program. Mayor Kostichek reported on a free tree seedlings program through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources that the City is eligible to apply for. The program allows for plantings on private and public properties and orders must be in increments of 25. Consensus was to pursue applying later this year, for the fall cycle, if enough interest is received from residents.
Public Works Department Report. Stagg stated the 1997 International dump truck (oldest in the fleet) has not been utilized for the past few years and he wants to dispose of it (through sealed bid process). Brockmann stated he thinks it’s sad that the heavy dump truck sits while lighter trucks plow snow. He questioned the next dump truck replacement schedule and suggested keeping the 1997. Smith moved and Puck seconded to proceed with the disposal process for the 1997 International dump truck. Motion carried with Brockmann opposing.
City Clerk’s Report. Rickertsen reported the 2020 Census information will be arriving soon and expressed the importance to the community for everyone to complete the census. Every household will have the option of responding online or by phone. Rickertsen presented information on increasing the minimum water and sewer bill which includes 1,400 gallons usage, as well as a 3-5% increase on the water rate for additional usage, which is needed to pay for improvements to the system. Korry Kraft stated he is continuously replacing fixtures due to lime buildup, even though he has a water softener. It was discussed that there is a way to soften the water at the plant but it would be very costly and would require a significant rate increase. Joe Hahn questioned why Iowa 80 Truckstop is not on the City’s water system and why there can’t be a higher water rate for commercial properties. All new construction at Iowa 80 Truckstop is required to connect to the City’s water system and the Council is not interested in pursuing a different rate structure for commercial users. Rate changes require an Ordinance, which will be prepared for a future meeting in April.
Council Member Comments. Brockmann expressed concerns which include the following:
- Leaves at Victory Park that haven’t been cleaned up. Smith responded that the leaves were cleaned up in the fall but then it snowed and now the ground is wet. Stagg stated the park will be cleaned up again once the conditions permit.
- Pretreatment of the streets on February 21st and stated the treatment only lasts two hours. Stagg reported on a predicted upcoming weather event and that applying salt brine is a proactive approach to controlling snow and ice on streets. He stated that it takes four times more salt for removal following a snowfall than it does to pretreat the streets with brine and that the brine lasts much longer than two hours, typically until it snows or rains.
Smith moved and Mengler seconded to adjourn at 6:48 p.m. Motion carried. All votes on motions were unanimous, unless noted.