by Joe Moses
The Waukon City Council met twice within a week this past week. A special session was held Tuesday, September 29 at the former JCPenney/Tierneys building in downtown Waukon and the councils regular session was held Monday, October 5 at Waukon City Hall. Coverage of both meetings is provided below.
SEPTEMBER 29 SPECIAL SESSIONThe council met in special session Tuesday, September 29 at the former JCPenney/Tierneys building in downtown Waukon, located at the stoplight intersection at 12 West Main Street, for a presentation by Arturo Barreda and Jose Velarde, both of Waukon, relating to a proposed restaurant at that location. Barreda and Velarde, owners of Fajitas Grill in Lansing and Fiesta Vallarta in Waukon, presented information and answered questions from the council relating to a proposed steakhouse restaurant at the former Tierneys location. Floor plan and concept drawings illustrated plans for the building with Barreda and Velarde providing an overview of the restaurant concept.
Director Ardie Kuhse of Waukon Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) provided feedback relating to a proposed grant application through Iowa Economic Developments Community Catalyst Building Remediation Program. Kuhse discussed the application process for this grant, which could potentially contribute up to $100,000 to the renovation of the former JCPenney/Tierneys building. Kuhse advised that the project meets seven of ten criteria requirements necessary for the grant application.
The proposal from Barreda and Velarde for the estimated $400,000 building remodel was divided into three funding sources, including the Catalyst Grant at $100,000, a contribution of $200,000 from the business owners and a $100,000 contribution from the City. From an economic development standpoint, the project was discussed as being advantageous to the City with the alternative of tearing down the building, dirt fill, concrete and repairs to the shared common wall with the adjacent building likely costing an estimated $150,000-$200,000 without the economic benefit of a destination restaurant at the location. The council was in agreement to further discuss and potentially take official action relating to the grant pre-application at the next council meeting, which was scheduled for Monday, October 5 and is covered below in this same article.
City Manager Gary Boden provided an update relating to the demolition contract for 105 First Street NW, the former McMillan property across the street from the Waukon Police Station, provided by Blake Excavating as low bidder. Boden suggested that the contract falls within his spending authority and discussed plans to proceed with Blake Excavating on this project.
Boden and the council also discussed options relating to the Waukon Wellness Centers heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Boden advised that a short-term repair option may allow the current HVAC system to operate another five to seven years with a more extensive long-term HVAC replacement being an option at a much greater cost.
Boden recommended moving forward with the short-term repair option in the $80,000-$100,000 range as a five- to seven-year repair with the complete HVAC replacement estimate in the $500,000 range as a long-term option. Boden advised that a short-term repair expense would be funded 50% by the City, 25% by the Allamakee Community School District and 25% funded by the Waukon Wellness Center. The council and Boden discussed ongoing HVAC cleaning and maintenance with council member John Ellingson adding that a maintenance position should be considered for maintaining City Hall and other City facilities.
The council moved into the Resolution approving the Official Financial Report for City Streets and Parking for July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, with the council approving the matter.
Prior to adjournment, the council discussed several miscellaneous matters. Council member Arvid Hatlan suggested that ATV/UTV use within the city should be discussed with speed being a safety concern on residential streets. Boden advised that there may be some short-term staffing concerns with the Waukon Police Department through the end of the year with additional part-time officers being an option.
Kuhse said that she has received questions from the public relating to plans for Halloween within the city. Kuhse mentioned the Trunk or Treat event will be taking place but a decision and announcement relating to trick or treating in residential areas may be advisable.OCTOBER 5 REGULAR SESSIONAfter the Monday, October 5 regular meeting of the Waukon City Council was called to order, Mayor Pat Stone read aloud the Buddy Poppies Proclamation which encourages individuals, businesses and organizations to support this fundraising campaign benefiting disabled veterans and the families of deceased veterans while honoring all veterans who have risked their lives defending our freedom. The Proclamation indicated the distribution of Buddy Poppies by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) will take place Friday, October 16 in Waukon.
There was no Public Comment and the council moved into Department Reports with Street Superintendent Keith Burrett providing an update, first noting that he will be seeking additional bids from a contractor relating to chip sealing of streets next year. Burrett also discussed a recent spill from Aveka Nutra Processing resulting in 8,000 gallons of water entering the storm sewer and eight hours of labor with City Manager Gary Boden determining the cost to be assessed to Aveka. Stone and Burrett also discussed tree trimming on Third Avenue SW.
Director Cate St. Clair of Robey Memorial Library provided an update indicating that two custodians from TASC will be returning to work at the library following a precautionary quarantine. St. Clair advised that library staff is receiving a lot of technology questions from children relating to Zoom web-conferencing and online matters with school resuming. St. Clair added that the library has wireless internet available 24/7 which can be of assistance to students. St. Clair said that there has been an influx of Decorah area residents with that citys library remaining closed. St. Clair said that traditional childrens programming for October has been canceled but as an alternative, activities like Chalk the Walk are being offered and encouraged. St. Clair discussed the recent book sale as being a successful event bringing in over $250 in just two days. St. Clair also recognized the efforts of Neal Daley as a volunteer helping with gardening upkeep.
Park, Rec and Wellness Director Jeremy Strub discussed heating system repairs taking place at the Waukon Wellness Center with work also being done by an engineer relating to the heating system in the long term. Strub indicated that use of the Wellness Center has increased and that fall activities are underway.
Waukon Police Chief Paul Wagner reported that an employment offer has been made and that he likely will be able to provide the name of the new officer hire at the next council meeting. Wagner mentioned that the housing of stray dogs is an issue that will need to be discussed. Wagner also said that he recently received a couple of speed complaints relating to Third Avenue NW, which he said is one of the more frequently patrolled residential streets in Waukon.
Water and Sewer Superintendent Jim Cooper provided an update relating to the fish kill resulting from the July 20 yeast spill at Aveka. Cooper said he received an email from the DNR indicating that no monetary fine has been issued but enforcement actions are still under consideration. Cooper also provided an update about the Hidden Creek Lift Station, which he indicated is up and running, has fencing installed and the generator is functioning well. Cooper also discussed some concerns with the noise level of the generators exhaust system with council member Arvid Hatlan advising against any changes to the exhaust or addition of a muffler which may void the generators warranty.
Cooper also discussed the benefits of having a contractor perform leak detection which allowed a few leaks to be repaired and resulted in a noticeable water use reduction. Cooper thanked the Park and Rec Department for its assistance in grass mowing when his department was recently short-handed. He also provided an update relating to the new wastewater treatment facility with cement work being completed and the project progressing well.
Boden provided the City Managers Report and discussed two City employees returning to work following quarantine. Boden provided an update relating to a dead or dying tree between two properties on Second Avenue NW, with both property owners to be notified about costs associated with the tree removal by the City. Boden indicated that a proposal for grant writing services has been received and that a contractor will be at City Hall within the next few weeks to begin the process of upgrading the council chambers audio and video capabilities.
Stone provided the Mayors Report and discussed recent communications with Avekas CEO Willie Hendrickson. Stone said that Hendrickson will be part of the next council meeting via Zoom web-conferencing and will be providing a plan in writing in the next week to address concerns relating to spills and discharges into the storm sewer.
Council member John Ellingson provided the City Council Report and discussed recent email from a resident relating to the possibility of vacating a portion of property on Fourth Street SW. Ellingson discussed feedback he has received relating to ATV/UTV use with one positive comment and three complaints. Ellingson said that he has noticed some instances of ATV/UTV speeding on the street near his home. Ellingson noted that the Police Department is monitoring this issue in town and enforcing the posted speed limit with this being a public safety concern.
The Public Hearing for the Amendment of Fiscal-Year (FY) 2020-2021 City Budget for the City of Waukon was opened and closed with Finance Director Lana Snitker indicating that no verbal or written comments have been received. Two resolutions were individually reviewed and approved including the Resolution Approving the Amendment #1 of the FY 2020-2021 City Budget for the City of Waukon and the Resolution Accepting work covering the Proposed Tennis Court Project.
The council moved into the consideration of modifying three ordinances to match State Code updates. Each ordinance was individually reviewed with the second and third readings waived with adoption including Senate File (SF)457 increasing the minimum fine for City Code violations, SF 2268 increasing the minimum age for possession or use of any tobacco product and House File (HF)760 providing additional exemptions from the hotel/motel tax.
The council reviewed and approved claims including the Tennis Court Project Pay Application #4 and the Police Station Renovation Project Change Order #1, Pay Application #1 and Change Order #2.
Wagner provided an update relating to the Waukon Police Station Renovation Project and discussed a recent walk-through with the contractor. Wagner discussed the south windows, which have been removed and are being filled in, and concrete flooring that has been removed. Wagner advised that the garage door will be replaced due to its poor condition and needing to be slightly reconfigured to allow more space for insulation.
The council discussed setting a date and time for Halloween trick or treating. Concerns relating to COVID-19 were discussed with guidelines from the Iowa Department of Health and CDC being mentioned which advise against traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating or trunk-or-treating. The council was in agreement that residents and parents should decide for themselves as to whether or not to accept this risk, to participate in giving out candy or to allow children to participate in trick-or-treating. Boden indicated that he will research what hours were used last year for trick-or-treating and make a decision and announcement administratively.
The council moved into the discussion of authorizing the pre-application for the Catalyst Grant for the former JCPenney/Tierneys building toured by the council last week. Council member Gayle Decker discussed concerns relating to the project with additional information being needed from the business owners including more information on renovation costs. Ellingson advised that the application should be approved to allow the pre-application to move forward in a timely manner with the council or business owners having the option to stop the application process at a later time. Ellingson said that with the building being vacant for quite some time, it would be a mistake for the City to not explore this opportunity. The council approved to move forward with the pre-application with Decker voting against the matter.
Boden addressed the next agenda item relating to Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) with the first matter involving the authorization for the owner-occupied rehabilitation program. Boden said that Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission (UERPC) will be administering these grants relating to the rehabilitation of several buildings. The council approved to have Boden proceed on this matter.
The second matter involved the authorization of an upper story redevelopment grant for properties at 504 and 506 West Main Street now owned by Daryl Hansmeier. The grant request relates to the upper story renovation of each building to create apartments. The council indicated that the structural integrity of the buildings should be determined prior to the City sponsoring this project. No action was taken.
The council moved into discussion of Fair Board related issues. The 28E agreement between the City and the Fair Board was addressed by the council. Allamakee County Fair Board President Tyler Plein discussed improvements that the Fair Board would like to make to the property including the sewer line from the Pavilion, which has had issues during the winter months. The Citys ownership of the fairgrounds was discussed with the Fair Board being responsible for the buildings. Plein and the council discussed the 28E agreement, which has expired, and will be reviewed and possibly adjusted to fit current needs. Plein also discussed the placement of signage that will promote the Allamakee County Fair and events to be held at the Pavilion.
Boden provided a status update on parking at the Good Samaritan Society in Waukon, noting that negotiations have stalled with their request to vacate some right of way, sidewalk and boulevard area to create additional parking. Good Samaritan Society-Waukon Administrator Cathy Taylor provided additional feedback and indicated that their request would be an improvement for the community, improve safety and create additional parking. Following discussion, the council agreed to have a committee comprised of a few council members view the proposed area with Taylor and provide a recommendation.
The council discussed ATV/UTV speed within city limits. Council member Arvid Hatlan indicated that he is not against ATV use but several speed complaints have been received with hard braking and tire squealing being issues at speeds above the posted 15 m.p.h. speed limit. Hatlan and Ellingson discussed enforcement of the speed limit for ATVs.
Prior to adjournment, Ellingson recommended that a maintenance position should be considered to aid in the upkeep and maintenance of all City facilities. Ellingson indicated that he was introducing this idea now for future budget-related discussions. Hatlan added that this proposed position could be part of several department budgets with the library and City Hall, among other City buildings, to benefit from a maintenance position.
- New consumers driven to the RVing lifestyle fuel solid growth for Winnebago - Minneapolis Star Tribune - October 24th, 2020
- Governor Abbott named Best Governor in the Nation by ALEC, conservative economists - KXXV News Channel 25 - October 24th, 2020
- Freedom Healthcare Staffing Wins Denver Business Journal Fast 50 Award - PRNewswire - October 24th, 2020
- Lawmakers need to get federal funding to ease MBTA woes - Boston Herald - October 24th, 2020
- Classes to resume soon for final-years at state universities - University World News - October 24th, 2020
- Last Week in Slovenia: 16-22 October, 2020 - Total Slovenia News - October 24th, 2020
- Where They Stand: John Jacob - Daily Journal - October 24th, 2020
- Rep. Cynthia Lummis Speaks to Voters in Thermopolis | - mybighornbasin - October 24th, 2020
- Letters to the editor - News - The Hutchinson News - October 24th, 2020
- Taxpayer Tricks and Treats for Halloween 2020 - Business Wire - October 24th, 2020
- Parliament body: Freedom Fighters' monthly honorarium to be raised to Tk20,000 from Tk12,000 - Dhaka Tribune - October 24th, 2020
- Corporate Consultants Set Their Targets on American Universities - The Nation - October 24th, 2020
- Boebert incapable of being an independent voice negotiating on our behalf - The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel - October 8th, 2020
- How USAID Translates The Executive Order On Advancing International Religious Freedom Into Action - Forbes - October 8th, 2020
- The Case Against Trump: Donald Trump Is an Enemy of Freedom - Reason - October 8th, 2020
- D.R. Horton, Inc. to Release 2020 Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year-End Earnings on November 10, 2020 - Business Wire - October 8th, 2020
- Inslee, Culp meet in first and only governor's debate - Thehour.com - October 8th, 2020
- Everything We Just Learned About The Navy's Dubious Path To A 500 Ship Fleet - The Drive - October 8th, 2020
- Civil society raises alarm about IMF's continued backing of austerity amidst pandemic - Bretton Woods Observer - October 8th, 2020
- NCC to invite experts to CtiTV News hearing - - October 8th, 2020
- Candidates want to represent district in Statehouse - The Herald - October 8th, 2020
- The Toss-up: Virginia's 7th Congressional District race may be one of the nation's closest - Chesterfield Observer - October 8th, 2020
- Abbotsford West candidates spar on Highway 1, light rail, housing and snap election - Abbotsford News - October 8th, 2020
- Noem urges legislators to carefully follow US Treasury guidelines while deciding how to spend a portion of the state's Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars... - October 8th, 2020
- The Social Cost Of COVID-19 - The ASEAN Post - September 8th, 2020
- Stalwarts who founded and built the UNP must be turning in their graves - NewsIn.Asia - September 8th, 2020
- 2020 could be the year of 'peak Democrat' in Colorado. This is why. - Colorado Springs Gazette - September 8th, 2020
- Trump and the RNC should remind Cuban voters of Fidel Castro, not their political home - NBC News - August 31st, 2020
- Analysis: Will Uzbekistan's Champion of Reform Stay the Course? - Voice of America - August 31st, 2020
- It's Never Been More Clear: Fare Hikes Won't Save the MBTA - Boston magazine - August 31st, 2020
- Libertarians Took Control of This Small Town. It Didn't End Well. - Washington Monthly - August 31st, 2020
- Point-Counterpoint: Benefits will outweigh the consequences for college football this fall - University of Pittsburgh The Pitt News - August 31st, 2020
- Fact-checking the first night of the 2020 Republican National Convention - Poynter - August 31st, 2020
- Moody's: Coronavirus is accelerating shift to online education - Education Dive - August 31st, 2020
- Corbella: Facts and fairness show public sector workers should have their pay cut - Calgary Herald - August 31st, 2020
- Fred Perpall, CEO of The Beck Group, says Blacks and whites need to be more inclusive - The Dallas Morning News - August 31st, 2020
- Could On-Campus Housing At Local Universities Lead To COVID-19 Outbreaks? - NBC San Diego - August 31st, 2020
- Explained: What to look for in GDP data today - The Indian Express - August 31st, 2020
- 35th District Race Brings Three Options to Clinton, Killingworth, and Westbrook - Zip06.com - August 31st, 2020
- Beware the Chinese Economy Recovery Trap - JAPAN Forward - August 31st, 2020
- At RNC, here's what Trump, Republicans have to say our country and economy if they want to win - Fox Business - August 31st, 2020
- When we went to remote learning I could feel every teacher's eyes on me - Sydney Morning Herald - August 31st, 2020
- Bad bank not only necessary but unavoidable in present situation: Subbarao - THE WEEK - August 31st, 2020
- MORSE denies allegations of INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR State REOPENING is on PAUSE Senate race gets NEGATIVE - Politico - August 10th, 2020
- Austerity: Another officer retires, rehired by Odisha government - The New Indian Express - August 10th, 2020
- Media Training Workshop on Using the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act for Investigative Reports on Campaign Fi - The Nigerian Voice - August 10th, 2020
- Detainees concerned for well-being as COVID-19 cases rise in crowded Hays County Jail - Community Impact Newspaper - August 10th, 2020
- The Endowment is Not the Issue - Harvard Political Review - August 10th, 2020
- DAILY VOICE: Four reasons why IT stocks are hitting 52-week highs - Moneycontrol.com - August 10th, 2020
- Kashmiris Lament the Loss of Their Youth - Foreign Policy - August 10th, 2020
- SLPP has creatively disrupted politics; now it has to do the same to the economy - ft.lk - August 10th, 2020
- More freedom to banks, further rate cut not ruled out: 10 key takeaways from policy meet - Economic Times - August 9th, 2020
- In HBO film, Ken Buck suggests he will leave Congress soon - The Denver Post - August 9th, 2020
- Biden's Climate Plan Would Put Us on the Road to Serfdom - The Heartland Institute - August 9th, 2020
- Krishi Kalyan & Cashew India App: Farmers Breathe Sigh of Relief As Government Aims To Revive Indian Agro Industry - The Indian Wire - August 9th, 2020
- How Attacks on Faith, Family, and Conscience Threaten All Our Freedoms - Daily Signal - August 8th, 2020
- Military Alliances, Partnerships Strengthened Through Defense Strategy Execution - Department of Defense - August 8th, 2020
- @theMarket: The Economy Versus the Stock Market - iBerkshires.com - August 8th, 2020
- UK housing is on the agenda. How do we really build back better? - Big Issue - August 8th, 2020
- Letter: You'd think police would have better things to do than silence street musicians - Seacoastonline.com - August 5th, 2020
- Secretary Michael R. Pompeo Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the Fiscal Year 2021 State Department Budget Request - US Embassy in... - August 5th, 2020
- Brcko District to improve the Fiscal Discipline and Transparency of Expenditure of Public Funds - Sarajevo Times - August 5th, 2020
- How to find a pubmedia job in a pandemic - Current - August 5th, 2020
- Don't tell the separatists but Alberta is lapping up federal aid in record amounts - iPolitics.ca - August 5th, 2020
- Guest opinion: Address to C-SD Class of 2020 - Dorchester Banner - Dorchester Banner - August 5th, 2020
- Making sure the U.S. military remains the best in the world - Brookings Register - August 5th, 2020
- Mailbag: 'Choose life and success' over COVID-19 - Los Angeles Times - August 5th, 2020
- With Trump reelection uncertain, GOP battles over its future - Los Angeles Times - August 4th, 2020
- Leading the Way on Higher Education Reform through Smart Giving - Philanthropy Magazine - August 4th, 2020
- Let's be blunt about it: Russ Diamond is a jerk - The Times of Chester County - August 4th, 2020
- College Football Needs to Change. The Pac-12s Players Are Making That Happen. - The Ringer - August 4th, 2020
- Fiscal Freedom - The Heritage Foundation - August 2nd, 2020
- Gen Z GOP wants to build the Republican Party of the future - Boston Herald - August 2nd, 2020
- Rallying cry: 'There is no reason this statue needs to be moved' - messenger-inquirer - August 2nd, 2020
- No Europe Without the Rule of Law by Harold James - Project Syndicate - August 2nd, 2020
- Today's Headlines and Commentary - Lawfare - August 2nd, 2020
- Faculty push back on how colleges are planning for the fall - Education Dive - August 2nd, 2020
- Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles Converters Market 2020 Analysis by Geographical Regions, Type and Application Till 2026 with Top Key Players - Owned - August 2nd, 2020
- New release shows the value of the Union to the nations of the UK - GOV.UK - August 2nd, 2020
- LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: School administration in Middletown is dysfunctional - The Providence Journal - August 1st, 2020