The semi-monthly meeting of the City Council of Walcott, Iowa, was held on Monday, the 4th day of November, 2019, at Walcott City Hall. Mayor John Kostichek called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. Council members present were: Everett Bieri, John Brockmann, Lisa Mengler, Jacob Puck, and Larry Smith. Absent: None. City staff present: Jeff Blake, Lisa Rickertsen, and Paul Stagg.
Approval of Agenda. Smith moved and Puck seconded to approve the agenda. Motion carried.
Introduction of Audience/Public Comments. Patricia Clare recently received a notice to remove a dead, diseased, or damaged tree on her property. She requested an extension for completion and to only remove the dead limbs.
Consent Agenda. Mengler moved and Puck seconded to approve the consent agenda including the invoices, minutes from October 21, 2019, and Resolution 2019-36 – Approving Hourly Wage for Officer Horihan for Instructor Certification. Roll call ayes: Mengler, Puck, Bieri, Brockmann, and Smith. Motion carried.
City Parking Lot Project. City Engineer, Jason Holdorf, previously provided two options on how to examine the material used for the basement backfill on the lot directly east of City Hall. Holdorf explained the exploratory excavation option and stated this was the more cost effective option. Mengler moved and Smith seconded to proceed with the exploratory excavation for the proposed parking lot project. Motion carried.
Dan Fellman – 309 W. Bryant Street. Fellman recently received a notice from the city to remove a dead, diseased, or damaged tree by December 15, 2019. He is requesting an extension of the date for removal. Due to the location of the tree, he reported that a local tree trimming contractor stated they can’t come into his yard until the ground is frozen. Rickertsen reported on Attorney Schirman’s concerns regarding extending the removal date. Issues could arise if the tree would fall and cause damage due to a winter storm during the extension period. Mengler moved and Bieri seconded to revisit his extension request during the December 2nd meeting to determine ground conditions. Motion carried.
Jamie Minnaert – 221 E. Flagg Street. Minnaert also received a tree notice and stated he only wants to remove the dead limbs, instead of the entire tree. Council discussed safety concerns, especially if it is an infested ash tree and allowing it to stay can become a hazard by dropping limbs or falling over. Smith and Stagg both reported that ash trees with signs of the ash borer should be removed completely. Minnaert will contact a local tree trimming contractor to verify the type of tree and he will report his findings to the Building Official/Code Enforcement Officer. Clare was asked to do the same for the tree on her property that she received a notice for.
Public Works Department Report. Stagg provided conceptual designs, prepared following input from the community during the Iowa Living Roadway’s Community Visioning Program process. These designs can be used during the Council’s review of future capital improvement projects. Stagg also reported he spoke with both the Police Chief and Fire Chief regarding the ongoing parking problems on Sterling Drive and Walker Street, especially during the winter months, and the desire to initiate no parking regulations on those streets. This topic will be on the next agenda.
City Clerk’s Report. Rickertsen reported on the changes to the health insurance plan for 2020. Based on current enrollees, the health insurance premium for 2020 will increase 9.23% and there is no increase for dental insurance. Rickertsen reported that some of the increase is due to the health insurer tax, which is being reintroduced in 2020 to help fund the ACA. Mengler moved and Smith seconded to approve the 2020 employee health and dental insurance benefits renewal with Wellmark. Motion carried.
Puck moved and Smith seconded to adjourn at 6:33 p.m. Motion carried. All votes on motions were unanimous, unless noted.