Regular Council Meeting
May 4, 2020 – 6:00 P.M.
Community Media Center
Mayor Brian Wolken called the meeting to order. Council present: Dave Goedken, Brenda Hanken, Gary Feldmann, Candy Langerman, Chris Lux and Tom Yeoman. Also present were City Administrator Doug Herman, City Clerk Sally Hinrichsen, Public Works Director Nick Kahler and Police Chief Britt Smith. The public was invited to participate in the meeting, which was held electronically due to the heightened public health risks of the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19), via “Zoom Meetings” and were encouraged to communicate during the meeting via chat. The meeting did have public attendance and some active participation.
Yeoman moved to approve the agenda, Langerman seconded, roll call unanimous.
Lux moved to approve the consent agenda, Goedken seconded, roll call unanimous.
Mayor Wolken opened the public hearing on the proposed Amendment of Fiscal Year 2019/2020 City Budget. Staff received no written comments and there were no oral comments. Mayor Wolken closed the hearing on the proposed Amendment of Fiscal Year 2019/2020 City Budget. Yeoman moved to approve Resolution #2020-58 City Budget Amendment and Certification FY2020- Amendment #2, Langerman seconded, roll call unanimous.
Goedken moved to approve Resolution #2020-59 Reporting all Employees’ Wages for calendar year ending December 31, 2019, Hanken seconded, roll call unanimous.
Herman reviewed the three bids received for final grading, seeding, fertilizing and mulching of North Sycamore Street. The low bidder, Emerald Green Lawncare from Lisbon, has been in business for over 20 years and submitted a bid in the amount of $5,450.00. Langerman moved to approve Resolution #2020-60 to approve North Sycamore Street Seeding Contract between the City of Monticello and Emerald Green Lawncare, Lux seconded, roll call unanimous.
Herman reported the City’s Engineer, Dieter Muhlack, has reviewed and recommended approval of the 2nd Pay request submitted by Crawford Company in the amount of $24,594.55. Goedken moved to approve Resolution #2020-61 Approving Pay Request #2 from Crawford Company, related to Berndes Center HVAC Project, Langerman seconded, roll call unanimous.
Herman reported the Welter Family has agreed to transfer ownership of the former Dollar General/Dime Store as a gift to the City of Monticello to facilitate the transfer of the property to the Creative Adventure Lab, Inc who will repurpose the building as a “Creative Adventure Lab” and “Innovation Lab” with office space for the proposed “Main Street Monticello”. Jordan DeGree, Executive Director of Creative Adventure Lab, Inc. played a short video featuring the Dubuque Creative Adventure Lab to show what would be possible in Monticello. Deb Bowman, Lisa Stadtmueller and Cammie Greif all spoke via Zoom in support of the Innovation Lab. DeGree stated they could use both the main and lower levels of the building and would be open for all ages. They would look to for unique activities and connections to the community, not just copy the Creative Adventure Lab in Dubuque. They would be open for families, school field trips, childcare /daycare visits and private events. Chief Smith responded to questions related to parking, indicating that he did not see a problem, that Dollar General successfully operated at that location for years with many trucks in and out of there. Goedken questioned whether the City would be investing money in the building. Herman explained that the City was eligible for certain grants that could be used to cover some early renovation costs. If there were costs to be incurred, those costs would be reimbursed by the Creative Adventure Lab so long as they were pre-approved by Creative Adventure lab. Herman explained that a Phase I Environmental study was underway with the costs to be covered by the IDNR. This must be done prior to the City taking ownership of the building if the City desires to have an asbestos inspection that is also covered by the IDNR Brownfields Program. Goedken moved to approve Resolution #2020-62 Approving transfer of building located at 101 East 1st Street from the Welter family to the City of Monticello and plan to transfer building from City to the Creative Adventure Lab, Inc. Hanken seconded, roll call unanimous.
Herman reported that he is working with the Cobblestone Inn’s lenders who are looking at options to improve the finances of the hotel moving forward and they suggested that the City not take action on any amendments to the Development Agreement until they had a plan in place to present to the City.
Herman distributed final Hwy 38 trail plans to contractors.
Herman advised that Iowa Codification is working on the final draft of the City Code update. The proposed code amendment related to a second meter for filling swimming pools will be included in the final code for Council consideration.
Herman completed his review of the new City Handbook and will review with the City Attorney before presenting to the City Council for approval.
Herman advised that the Sewer Plant grant has been submitted. Jones County Economic Development, Executive Director Derek Lumsden, stated that the City should know in June if the application was successful, with potential grant funds between $1 and $1.5 million. Overall project costs are estimated to be around $8 million. Lumsden reported that the size of the potential grant has been lowered due to a re-allocation of funds at the federal level due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Herman reported the grant related to the Airport grading and paving project has been submitted.
Herman indicated that he planned to apply for the Rural Innovation Grant for funding to improve the storefront at 101 East First Street based upon the Council’s support of this project. Herman will work on an agreement with Creative Adventure Lab.
Herman reported that the Fair agreed to pay for the additional $1,300 to make the Maple Street sidewalk 5’ wide, if it can be done without damaging the trees, with the understanding that their payment would not be due until the fall of 2021.
Herman received plans from Snyder & Associates to bring the pedestrian ramps at the intersection of Sycamore and East First Street, that were not re-done as part of the N. Sycamore Street project, into compliance with the ADA.
Herman reviewed a letter mailed to Norm Zimmerman, Sid Schatz and Lisa Winch related to the possible extension of a sewer main to serve their properties, all located along North Cedar Street, and proposing a $10,000 assessment against each property over a 10-year period. Herman reported visiting with Schatz who advised that his septic works fine and is pumped regularly. Herman reported that the Schoon Addition residents were assessed $7,500 at 0% interest for 10 years, when City extended the sewer into that neighborhood. After much discussion, Goedken moved to direct Herman to offer Zimmerman a $9,000 assessment, which includes the $500 for each neighbor to connect to the sewer and $5,000 assessment for both Schatz and Winch. The assessments would be payable over a 10-year period at 0% interest, with the understanding that this offer would be a final offer, and if not accepted the property owners would need to install or maintain legal septic systems moving forward, Hanken seconded, roll call unanimous.
Smith reported that the P.D. completed the re-inspection of the sidewalks in Ward 1 and that 31 of the 54 properties notified of deficiencies last year had been repaired. Smith sent a courtesy letter to the remaining property owners, giving them 60 days to make the required repairs and informing them that the City would make the repairs and assess the property if the property owner did not see to the repairs. The Ward 2 inspection resulted in sixteen letters being sent to property owners directing repairs to be made within sixty days.
Council discussed the possibility of reopening City facilities on May 15th. Goedken advised if facilities were opened, City would need to hire someone to clean public areas every hour. Library Director Turnis indicated that their Board does not recommend re-opening at this time and is looking into a phased opening, starting with curb side pickup on May 11th and opening to the public sometime after May 15th. Goedken moved to extend the closing of City facilities through May 18th with more discussion at the next Council meeting, Lux seconded, roll call unanimous.
Feldmann moved to adjourn at 8:01 P.M.
Brian Wolken, Mayor
Sally Hinrichsen, City Clerk