Regular Council Meeting
February 1, 2021 – 6:00 P.M.
Community Media Center
Mayor Brian Wolken called the meeting to order. Council present: Dave Goedken, Brenda Hanken, Scott Brighton, Candy Langerman, Chris Lux and Tom Yeoman. Also present were Deputy City Clerk Cheryl Clark, Public Works Director Nick Kahler, City Engineer Patrick Schwickerath, Water/Wastewater Superintendent Jim Tjaden, Police Chief Britt Smith and Park & Rec Director Jacob Oswald. The public was invited to attend the meeting in person, with limited seating or to participate in the meeting electronically via “Zoom Meetings” and were encouraged to communicate from Zoom Meeting via chat, due to the heightened public health risks of the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19). The meeting did have public attendance, both in-person and via Zoom.
Yeoman moved to approve the agenda, Langerman seconded, roll call unanimous.
Gaylen Kray, 634 N. Sycamore St., stated that he has been to various council meetings to discuss sidewalk discrepancies and hasn’t heard of a planned solution yet. He stated that some areas pose trip hazards and he would like feedback as far as who is liable in the event of a fall. Schwickerath stated that he looked at the expansion joints, which should allow some movement but not this much. He felt that if they go back to being flush in the spring, they are working as intended; however, he notified Horsfield and stated he would be monitoring them over the winter/spring. Kray stated that they are worse now than they were. Schwickerath stated that they used the same installation techniques as in other areas, but since this has been problematic the past two winters, it will likely continue. Goedken questioned if rebar was used and Schwickerath felt that may help, but could also crack if too much stress. Goedken felt that the Code should require rebar. Wolken agreed, but stated it would drive the price up. Wolken stated that the City would continue monitoring the sidewalks and could take a traffic cone to Kray, if he’d like one.
Bud Coyle, 515 N. Sycamore St., questioned how the service line leaks would be handled along the newly constructed N. Sycamore St. Wolken stated that they would be addressing the issue in the work reports later in the meeting.
Langerman moved to approve the consent agenda, Brighton seconded, roll call unanimous.
Wolken reported that the bids for the Airport courtesy car ranged from $300 to $2,520. Lux motioned to accept the high bid from Mark Dlask in the amount of $2,520, seconded by Langerman, roll call unanimous.
Wolken stated that the Fire Department Officers wages were last increased on July 1, 2008 and the Fire Board recommends an increase. Yeoman motioned to approve Resolution #2021-21 Approving Wages for Fire Department Officers, seconded by Brighton, roll call unanimous.
Brighton questioned why the mayor is only receiving a $100 per month increase, while the council will be receiving a $200 per month increase. Brighton feels the mayor puts in a lot of time and should receive the same increase. Goedken stated that he feels that the council has been undercompensated for quite some time and questioned if the City should pay $6,000 for a mayor, plus a full-time administrator. Goedken expressed his concern about the mayor deciding what gets placed on the agenda and didn’t feel that was in the rules and regulations. Brighton moved to modify the third reading of Ordinance #738 to increase the mayor pay $200 per month effective January 1, 2022 seconded by Lux, roll call unanimous.
Brighton moved to approve Ordinance #738, as amended above, amending the Code of Ordinances of the City of Monticello, Iowa by amending provisions pertaining to Section 15.04 “Compensation”, third and final reading in title only. Goedken seconded. Roll call unanimous. This will raise the Mayor’s pay from $3,600 per year to $6,000 per year effective January 1, 2022.
Schwickerath reported that there was a water service leak in the 2” service near Sacred Heart Church. This is the seventh leak, six of which were within 5” of the water main/corp and one near the shut off valve. They have all been similar pin hole leaks and it seems likely that it wouldn’t be a rock issue, but more of an issue with the copper. Schwickerath spoke with Rod Horsfield, who has concerns with the service line leaks that have been occurring. Horsfield stated that they have used this supplier in the past, but it’s not a supplier they use most of the time. Horsfield feels it may be a compression fitting leak that is causing the failures. Schwickerath stated its under warranty for three more years and that Horsfield would like more time to check in to the leaks. Tjaden stated that he spoke with Andy Shea with A.Y. McDonald Mfg., who is going to have the compression fittings tested. If another leak happens, he would like to be called when excavated so they can look at it. Goedken stated that he previously thought that the water lines belonged to the City, he was surprised to learn that they are the responsibility of the property owner. Hanken and Lux both agreed that it would be worrisome for the N. Sycamore St. residents with the number of leaks that have already happened. Goedken felt that the Code should be changed that the City owns the service line. Schwickerath stated that he would have Horsfield and the supplier continue to monitor the service lines. Coyle questioned if the spliced ones should be completely replaced and Wolken stated that the contractors say the splices should be stronger. Schwickerath stated that this number of leaks is very unusual and that they will work towards coming up with a solution. Kray questioned if leaks could happen again if the splices weren’t sized per the manufacturer. Goedken questioned if it could be that it wasn’t cut right. Wolken stated that we have had many good street projects and that we will work through the issues on the N. Sycamore St. project.
Tjaden reported that the E. 7th St. sewer line was televised. It showed root balls, high flow, the manhole is deteriorated, water valve doesn’t turn and the fire hydrant doesn’t function. When the N. Sycamore St. construction was going on, there were two 45 angles that were put in there, intended to be temporary with the thought that E. 7th St. would be reconstructed to Hwy. 38. Goedken questioned why there wasn’t a change order for the project and Wolken stated that the City generally gave them the direction on what to do. It should have been fixed when it was decided E. 7th St. wasn’t going to be reconstructed. Tjaden stated that he is waiting on a bid to see what the cost will be to get it repaired.
Tjaden reported that the GIS unit the City has is not user friendly. He found a GIS unit that he feels would be more user friendly and more economical, with a cost of $350 plus $200 each month it is used. He feels that all shut off valves could be located in one month and stated that we could use the new unit for $10/hour in the event of an emergency. Wolken suggested that Tjaden talk to the new City Administrator prior to purchasing.
Smith reported that he gets many requests to trade and sell patches. He has a new patch for childhood cancer awareness that they will have on their uniforms in May (DIPG awareness) and September (Childhood Cancer Awareness month). People that collect the patches can purchase them for $10 and all the money will be donated to the inclusive playground project.
Wolken reported that he has distributed the liaison appointments, with many remaining the same.
Goedken reported that he received an email regarding snow removal and stated that everyone needs to be patient and wait their turn. Wolken stated that he has received good comments due to using the brining machine and having the Park Department do the snow removal downtown. Goedken questioned why some downtown spots are skipped and Oswald stated that the Toolcat doesn’t fit between the building and signs in those areas. Hanken questioned if he shovels what the machine can’t get and Oswald stated that he doesn’t shovel for private businesses.
Hanken questioned if snowmobiles are allowed in town. Smith stated that at one time, they tried to designate a trail through town. They are only allowed on unplowed streets, which doesn’t really happen because the City plows during and after snowstorms. Smith stated that the night crew says that snowmobiles are few and far between, but it’s tough to enforce because they can’t be everywhere at once.
Hanken also reported that she recently saw kids on a snow mountain in the dark and felt it was dangerous. She only saw them because there was a reflector from a bicycle showing.
Wolken questioned if a special meeting was needed to finish up the budget. Clark reported that City Clerk Sally Hinrichsen stated if there are no changes or objections, she would go with what was on the FY ’22 Budget Summary that she sent all the council via email. Goedken stated that he feels that $60,000 needs to be set aside for the next three years to purchase a new plow, as we are currently using one that is 20 years old. Kahler stated that we also have a plow that is 18 years old and Goedken stated maybe funds should be set aside for the next six years. Goedken suggested that one could be ordered in May 2023 and paid for after July 2023. Wolken stated that incoming City Administrator Russ Farnum was shocked there was no equipment rotation. Kahler stated that the salt shed he requested is off the table and that another dump truck is needed. He would like the trucks inside and stated if he filled in by the two corners of the building, it would be a 40’x60’ addition. Goedken stated that if there isn’t a set aside for a dump truck, he will not vote for the budget. Wolken questioned what the county rotation is and Goedken stated that it changes. Goedken questioned if the tax rate was remaining the same and Wolken didn’t think it could go higher.
Brighton moved to adjourn at 7:35 P.M.
Brian Wolken, Mayor
Cheryl Clark, Deputy City Clerk