Regular Council Meeting
September 19, 2023 – 6:00 P.M.
Community Media Center
Mayor David Goedken called the meeting to order. Council present were: Candy Langerman, Wayne Peach, Scott Brighton, Chris Lux and Brenda Hanken. Also present were City Administrator Russell Farnum, City Clerk Sally Hinrichsen, Water /Wastewater Superintendent Jim Tjaden, Library Director Faith Brehm, Police Chief Britt Smith, and Public Works Director Nick Kahler. Council member Tom Yeoman joined the meeting electronically, later in the meeting. The public was invited to attend the meeting in person, or to participate in the meeting electronically via “Zoom Meetings” or “Facebook” and were encouraged to communicate from the chat or message.
Langerman moved to approve the agenda, moving Item #10 related to Monticello Main Street’s request to look into a mural for the stairwell behind City Hall. Hanken seconded, roll call was unanimous.
Shannon Poe, 920 West First Street, representing the EMS and Monticello Ambulance Service members and staff, stated they still have no ambulance director and would like this on the next Council agenda.
Langerman moved to approve the consent agenda, Peach seconded, roll call was unanimous. Yeoman joined electronically.
Deb Bowman, with Monticello Main Street advised they would like to investigate the beautification of the stairwell behind City Hall possibly having a mural there. They will continue to look into ideas and bring back their proposal to the Council for approval. Langerman moved to authorize Monticello Main Street to look into ideas for the beautification of the stairwell behind City Hall and bring proposals back to Council, Peach seconded, roll call unanimous.
Mayor opened the Appeal Hearing related to Krystina Lafler’s Order to Remove her dogs due to an incident on September 10, 2023. Krystina Lafler stated her Great Dane Mix, named Nova, is accused of being a vicious animal and excessive barking. She advised the lady was injured on her leg during the incident, which happened while they were out of town. Lafler has contacted Becky Clark who is a dog trainer and is working with her and Nova and talked to Britt Smith advising him she did not feel it was an aggressive dog. Her other dog, Max, is a rescue dog and they were provided proof of breed from the Monticello vet that it is an American Bully, by breed. Max is a support dog for her significant other, Brandon Street’s son and her daughter. Smith reviewed the facts of charges and what sections of the City Code that they are in violation of. Smith stated the trainer, Becky Clark would need to assure that the bad behaviors can be corrected. Smith stated the owner has taken steps to ensure Nova may be okay to stay in town, if Nova can complete the training successfully. Smith stated Max should be tested to validate results of lineage of the dog. He will work with Lafler to get the test taken. If it is a Pit Bull, there is no appeal to have a Pit Bull in Monticello, unless it was designated a service animal by November 19, 2018. Lafler stated they did not have a fence, as she does not own the property, but has put kennels in the basement for the dogs. Deb Kuhns, 436 East Third Street, stated she owns a dog but does not feel safe walk by Lafler’s house and the dog has showed his teeth at her before. Kuhns stated lots of dogs are allowed to run at-large at Riverside Gardens and other areas around town. Lafler stated they shortened Nova’s leash after the incident with Kuhns. Smith suggested Council allow a 12-week probation period for Nova. During the probation period the burden will be on the owner to ensure he completes the 12 weeks of training. Stephanie Lamm, 334 East Third Street, owns rescue dogs and does not want to see any dog taken from their owner; however, she has seen Nova running at-large but never witnessed any aggression. Verna White, 335 East Third Street, questioned how the dog was so smart to open windows and doors. Smith stated the burden is on the owner to ensure windows are closed and they can’t escape. Peach moved to authorize a 12-month probation period for Nova, with the following restrictions: 1) Nova and Max are not allowed to roam at-large, 2) Nova and Max shows no aggression toward anyone walking by the property, in the presence of the owner, 3) Nova completes professional training successfully and 4) any further incidents related to Nova be reported to Council, at which time probation period may be reconsidered. It is further authorized that Max may remain in town, as long as Max is tested to validate the lineage of the dog and confirms it is not a banned breed. Brighton seconded. Roll call unanimous
Hinrichsen advised a local relator contacted her about pending lien and assessments for this property and suggested giving them 10 days to pay, prior to placing the assessment.
Peach moved to approve Resolution #2023-127 Approving and Levying an Assessment for 402 South Linden Street for Curb Stop Repairs, at the interest rate of 4%, if not paid in 10 days, Brighton seconded, roll call unanimous.
Farnum advised amending the TIF area and plan to include Chestnut Street Project to allow TIF funds on the project. Hanken moved to approve Resolution #2023-128 Setting Date for Public Hearing on Designation of the Expanded Monticello Urban Renewal Area and on Urban Renewal Plan Amendment, seconded by Brighton, roll call unanimous. Public hearing will be held on October 16, 2023 at 6:00 PM.
Langerman moved to approve Resolution #2023-129 To Approve Kluesner Construction crack and joint sealing bid. Hanken seconded, roll call unanimous.
Yeoman moved to approve Resolution #2023-130 Approving Change Order #4 in the decreased amount of $450.00, submitted by Boomerang related to the Monticello Airport Taxiway Connector Project, Langerman seconded, roll call unanimous.
Yeoman moved to approve Resolution #2023-131 Approving Pay Request #5 related to the Monticello Airport Taxiway Connector project, to Boomerang in the amount of $159,085.06, Peach seconded, roll call unanimous.
Farnum advised engineer scaled back the Wastewater Treatment Facility Project and recommends letting bids for the project. Hanken moved to approve Resolution #2023-132 to provide for a notice of hearing on proposed plans, specifications, form of contract and estimate of cost for the Wastewater Treatment Facility Improvements Project, and the taking of bids therefor, Peach seconded, roll call unanimous. Public hearing will be held on October 2, 2023 at 6:00 PM.
Langerman moved to acknowledge the receipt the of the FY 2022 annual audit, seconded by Hanken, roll call unanimous.
Farnum reported Council discussed the fiber optic markers installation requirements at the last Council meeting but didn’t take any formal action. After discussion of fiber optic being installed by Cascade Communications and Comelec throughout the City, Brighton moved to not allow any above ground location markers to be installed. Langerman seconded, roll call unanimous.
Peach moved to have staff look into the City’s Street and ROW Utility Permits and make recommendations on the proposed permitting process and restoration, and bring back to Council for a work session.
Langerman moved to approve sidewalk bids at Austin Strong Playground in the amount of $10,550, with Accent Construction pledging to donate 10% of the final bill for the Austin Strong sidewalk project, lowering the City cost to $9,495. City staff will complete necessary dirt work and seeding. Peach seconded, roll call unanimous.
Goedken reported the City share of the fence has been installed at Jacobs Park and Diane Flanagan has reached out to the property owners from Jacobs Park to the top of the hill and will install the fence at no cost to the owners.
Farnum gave update on rebidding the Wastewater Treatment Plant project, bond issue for capital projects, working with Moody’s to get a bond rating for the City, completion of FY 2022 audit and beginning the FY 2023 audit, which has kept the Administration Office busy. Several staff members, Mayor and Peach will be attending the League of Cities conference in Cedar Rapids the remainder of the week.
Kahler reported staff has been working on Grand Street to make repairs to street to align with curb. Leaf pickup will begin in October and ash tree contractor will begin taking down trees in Fall.
Smith discussed possible options for Treats on the Street, including closing down First Street for two hours or increasing police presence and having someone monitoring the crosswalks to improve safety for all attending. Consensus of the Council was to have squad car placed at each end of First Street and visual presence at the crosswalks to aid attendees in crossing the street safely.
Smith updated Council on a dog bite incident during the Homecoming Powder Puff game, where owner had the dog on a leash.
Smith gave a report on the recent Safety Traffic Check point near the High School.
Tjaden stated Scott Hagen and Josh Willms repaired the manhole on Pine Street and feels they did a great job. Tjaden reported on the 5th Street valve and to replace the fire hydrant that is working with a larger one, that would require Gill Street to be replaced from 5th Street to 7th Street, so decided to just replace the valve and not the hydrant.
Brehm updated Council on the STEM Grant and the Panther Prowl Grant that Penny Schmidt applied for and received for the Library. She also discussed various programs happening at the library this month.
Peach moved, Langerman seconded to go into closed session pursuant to Iowa Code 21.5 (1)(j) to discuss the purchase of real estate where the premature disclosure could be reasonably expected to increase the price the City would have to pay for said property. Roll call unanimous. Yeoman did not join the closed session electronically, but rejoined after the closed session, as Farnum updated him prior to what would be discussed.
Peach moved, Hanken seconded to return to open session. Roll call unanimous. Brighton moved, Langerman seconded directing City Administrator to proceed with the purchase of Real Estate consistent with the terms and provisions discussed and directed during closed session. Roll call vote unanimous.
Peach moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:00 P.M.
David Goedken, Mayor
Sally Hinrichsen, City Clerk/Treasurer