The semi-monthly meeting of the City Council of Walcott, Iowa, was held on Monday, May 15, 2023, at Walcott City Hall. Mayor John Kostichek called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Council members present: Everett Bieri, Kirk Koberg, Harry Knutsen, Lisa Mengler, and Jacob Puck. Staff present: Adam Hill, Lisa Rickertsen, and Paul Stagg.
Approval of Agenda. Knutsen moved and Puck seconded to approve the agenda. Motion carried.
Introduction of Audience/Public Comments. Wes Wulf, Bob and Sue Peters, and John Brockmann were in attendance. Brockmann expressed concerns regarding W. Otis Street, including the intersection of Main and W. Otis Streets. Mengler stated the City has been working towards resolution of the street deficiencies. IMEG will present information at the next regular meeting regarding improvements to W. Otis Street.
Public Hearing on Proposed Development Agreement with Sterling Partners I, LLC. Mayor Kostichek opened the public hearing on the proposed development agreement with Sterling Partners I, LLC. A public notice was published according to law and this is the time and place at which the Council shall receive oral or written objections from any resident or property owners of the City. No oral or written objections or statements were filed. Mengler moved and Puck seconded to close the public hearing and resume the regular meeting. Motion carried.
Consent Agenda. Knutsen moved and Bieri seconded to approve the consent agenda including the invoices, minutes from May 1, 2023, renewal of Class C retail alcohol license and outdoor service for Lampliter Inn, renewal of Class E retail alcohol license for Casey’s General Store #1922, renewal of Class F retail alcohol license and outdoor service for Walcott Legion Post #548, and the April 2023 financial reports. Motion carried.
Resolution 2023-25, Approving Development Agreement with Sterling Partners I, LLC, Authorizing Annual Tax Increment Payments and Pledging Certain Tax Increment Revenue to the Payment of the Agreement. Puck moved and Mengler seconded to approve Resolution 2023-25. Roll call ayes: Puck, Mengler, Bieri, Knutsen, and Koberg. Motion carried.
Resolution 2023-26, Approval of Wes Wulf Subdivision Final Plat. Rickertsen reported the Planning & Zoning Commission recommended approval of the Wes Wulf Subdivision final plat. Bieri moved and Koberg seconded to approve Resolution 2023-26. Roll call ayes: Bieri, Koberg, Knutsen, Mengler, and Puck. Motion carried.
Bob & Sue Peters – Sod and Sidewalk Concerns. Bob and Sue Peters expressed concerns regarding the E. Lincoln Street project, including the drainage ditch adjacent to their property and recent sodding. Stagg responded the drainage ditch is necessary for drainage and he has expressed the sod concerns with the project contractor but the project is still under construction. Peters inquired when the sidewalk sections that were damaged three years ago during a City project would be replaced, as well as backfill along the sidewalk, and questioned if the sewer pipe could be cut to ground level. Koberg moved and Mengler seconded to fix the damaged sidewalk, repair trip hazards, and cut down the sewer pipe to ground level. Motion carried.
Fire Department Report.
- Approval to Temporarily Place “Volunteers Needed” Signs on City Property. Koberg moved and Bieri seconded to allow the Fire Department to temporarily place “volunteers needed” signs on City owned property. Motion carried.
- Purchase Approval for 4 Sets of Gear. Mengler moved and Puck seconded to approve the payment of $11,480 to Alex Air Apparatus for four sets of gear. Motion carried.
Park Board Recommendations.
- Acceptance of Water Fountain Donation for Victory Park from Girl Scout Troop 3034. Puck moved and Bieri seconded to accept the donation of a water fountain for Victory Park from Girl Scout Troop 3034. Motion carried.
- Approval of Playground Equipment by the Walcott Lions Club at Water Tower Park. Puck stated for the Lions Club 50th anniversary project they would like to install playground equipment at Water Tower Park. The project is expected to be completed in 2025, depending on fundraising. Mengler questioned the status of removing the water tower so there is no interference with placement of new equipment. Stagg responded he is in the process of obtaining bids to remove the tower. Mengler moved and Koberg seconded to approve the playground equipment project as presented by the Walcott Lions Club at Water Tower Park. Motion carried.
- Acceptance of 3 Flag Poles Donation for Wescott Park from 4 Local Organizations. The poles would fly the US, State of Iowa, and City flags. Mengler moved and Knutsen seconded to accept the donation of 3 flag poles for Wescott Park from the local organizations (Hearts & Hands Foundation, Walcott Day Committee, Walcott Community Club, and Walcott American Legion). Motion carried. Koberg questioned if this was being done to try and duplicate the three poles at the Legion Veteran’s Memorial at Welcome Park, and stated he hopes it doesn’t take away from that area.
- Acceptance of Scoreboard/Sign Donation for Larry Koberg Field at Wescott Park from Koberg Family. Puck moved and Bieri seconded to accept the donation of a scoreboard for Larry Koberg Field at Wescott Park from the Koberg family. Motion carried with Koberg abstaining.
Ordinance 537-23, An Ordinance Providing for the Division of Taxes Levied on Taxable Property in the May 2023 Addition to the Consolidated Walcott Urban Renewal Area, Pursuant to Section 403.19 of the Code of Iowa. Puck moved and Mengler seconded that the statutory rule requiring an ordinance to be considered and voted on for passage at two Council meetings prior to the meeting at which it is to finally pass is suspended (waive the second reading). Roll call ayes: Puck, Mengler, Puck, Koberg, Knutsen, and Puck. Motion carried. Koberg moved and Bieri seconded to approve the third and final reading to adopt Ordinance 537-23. Roll call ayes: Koberg, Bieri, Knutsen, Mengler, and Puck. Motion carried.
Ordinance 538-23, Amending Chapter 92 Pertaining to Water Rates. Ordinance 538-23 includes an increase of 4% to both the minimum (base rate) and usage rate, effective with the July 1st billing. Each customer shall pay a minimum bill of $17.65 per month (increase of $.65/month), which includes usage up to 1,400 gallons and all usage over 1,400 gallons shall be $6.05 per 1,000 gallons (increase of $.23/1,000 gallons). Mengler moved and Bieri seconded to approve the second reading to adopt Ordinance 538-23. Roll call ayes: Mengler, Bieri, Puck, Knutsen, and Koberg. Motion carried.
Ordinance 539-23, Amending Chapter 106 Pertaining to Solid Waste Collection Fees (Garbage Rate). Ordinance 539-23 is a 4% increase ($.60) to the monthly garbage rate, which is the percentage increase the City pays to the collector per contract effective July 1st. Puck moved and Koberg seconded to approve the second reading to adopt Ordinance 539-23. Roll call ayes: Puck, Koberg, Knutsen, Bieri, and Mengler. Motion carried.
Police Department Report. Sergeant Hill requested approval to purchase a new toughbook laptop and docking station, per the project worksheet. Koberg moved and Knutsen seconded to approve the purchase of a laptop and docking station from Platinum Information Services, Inc. at a cost of $3,448.35. Motion carried.
Public Works Department Report.
- Splash Pad/ Otis Street. Discussion was held on opening the splash pad and the expected start date for construction on W. Otis Street. Stagg reported the splash pad would not be accessible from Otis Street during the street construction but the construction area could be fenced and the splash pad could be accessed via sidewalk from Parker Street. It was discussed that a portable restroom would be needed if the splash pad remains open during construction. Council consensus was to have the street construction start on June 26th, after the ISC tournament since the contractor potentially could not start until the prior week. Following further discussion, Puck moved and Bieri seconded to open the splash pad but to close it during the W. Otis Street construction. Motion carried. Council will revisit the splash pad closure when the construction is complete.
Stagg reported on the recent water main break on N. Main Street and reported there is a section on E. Parkview Drive that needs to be replaced. Council consensus was to allow Stagg to move forward with replacing the deteriorated section on E. Parkview Drive in conjunction with the concrete replacement on N. Main Street.
Council Member Comments. Knutsen questioned the status of the sidewalk repairs on the Main Street bridge. Stagg stated he would include those repairs with the concrete repairs on N. Main Street. Koberg expressed concerns on the E. Lincoln Street project, including concrete approaches and usage of private property to access other businesses along E. Lincoln Street.
Possible Closed Session per Iowa Code 21.5(1)(J). Bieri moved and Puck seconded to go into a closed session at 7:03 p.m. under Iowa Code Chapter 21.5(1)(j) to discuss purchase of particular real estate. Roll call ayes: Bieri, Puck, Mengler, Knutsen, and Koberg. Motion carried. Rickertsen, Stagg, and Hill were allowed to stay and all others left the council chamber.
Koberg moved and Bieri seconded to close the closed session and resume the regular meeting at 7:18 p.m. Roll call ayes: Koberg, Bieri, Mengler, Puck, and Knutsen. Motion carried.
Possible Action per Closed Session. Mengler moved and Puck seconded to instruct staff to communicate with the property owner as discussed during the closed session. Motion carried.
Mengler questioned the possibility of the City providing incentives for future development of residential lots. Rickertsen stated the City has potential avenues to provide incentives to developers. Koberg reported a subcontractor of Alliant Energy drove on private property and he felt a fence was located in the easement area, which blocked access to the subcontractor. Stagg will verify the fence is located 10’ from the property line, as shown on the building permit. Koberg again questioned the concrete approaches and curb along E. Lincoln Street. A lengthy discussion ensued and it was reported that during the project planning last year two representatives from Liquid Grow attended a council meeting and they chose to have a 4” sloped rollover curb along the property instead of a 6” curb with driveway approaches.
Mengler moved and Puck seconded to adjourn at 7:56 p.m. Motion carried. All votes on motions were unanimous, unless noted.