Guttenberg city council covers lengthy agenda

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By Shelia Tomkins

The Guttenberg city council covered a lengthy agenda  at its monthly meeting on Sept. 14, held a week later than usual due to the Labor Day holiday.

Mayor Russ Loven led councilmembers Virginia Saeugling, Fred Schaub, Dave Schlueter, Jane Parker and Steve Friedlein through the evening's agenda. Also at the council table was City Manager Mary Willett; City Attorney Michael Schuster was absent.

Acting on old business, the council okayed a resolution finalizing the sale of city property to Gene and Cheryl Gustin,  owners of the Guttenberg RV Park. 

Jeff and Lori Dolan of Irish Hound Studios, represented by Attorney Alan Heavens, were in attendance to ask council permission to bury overhead wires. Heavens said that the Dolans were willing to bear the expense and maintenance of the buried wires. In discussion that followed, it was noted that an adjoining property owner, Degnan-Green Realty, objects to the request.

City Manager Willett and Attorney Heavens discussed city code, with Heavens saying that  "the city is vested with the power to resolve this."  Willett and Heavens expressed opposing interpretations of comments from the Iowa Utilities Board over jurisdiction issues. Mayor Loven suggested that the two property owners turn to mediation. Council member Schlueter noted that the city attorney advised the council not to act on the matter, and the city manager said that the city attorney feels the issue can be resolved through litigation between the two parties. After further discussion, and in the absence of the city attorney, the council voted to table the request. 

Dorothy Tangeman, on behalf of Ingleside Club, received council permission to place a bench on the Beuchel Hill trail.

Dick Kann of Lakeside Holding requested that the city install speed bumps on North Fifth Street and speed signs. The request was tabled for further study.

The council approved a letter of support for Ethan Moser of Boy Scout Troop 40 for a grant application to install a sidewalk near the band shell in the park.

The council awarded a $39,674 contract to the low bidder  for a new generator at the water plant/well pump site.

Representatives from three waste contractors — Waste Management, BiCounty Disposal and Kluesner Sanitation —  were on hand to discuss their bids for city garbage hauling. The city's current contract with Waste Management expires at the end of the year. After lengthy discussion, the contract award was tabled to study the background of an agreement the city had with the Winneshiek County Landfill and other questions.

The council voted to enter into an agreement with Allamakee Clayton REC to provide on-call electrician service and assistance in the case of an emergency.

Mark Ruden of IIW Engineers, project engineer for the River Park Drive Water Main Replacement project, told the council that the Department of Natural Resources has granted a permit for the project. Ruden recommended proceeding on a tight timeline in order for the project to move forward before winter. The council will hold a hearing on the project and take bids on Oct. 5.

On a 4-1 vote, with Jane Parker in dissent, the council approved a downtown assessment visit this year from Iowa Economic Development. Parker objected to the timing of the visit and the $2500 fee.

Approval was given to three changes in city code in order to comply with recent state legislative code changes in matters pertaining to disorderly conduct, railroad warning signals and amusement devices.

The council approved a pay increase for reserve officers allowing for a starting wage of $15 per hour with incremental increases. 

Dan Berns of Guttenberg introduced himself to the council and was approved as a reserve police officer.

Jim Zerbe presented the monthly marina report, and Officer Kari Hoyheim was present to answer questions about the monthly police department report in the absence of Police Chief George Morteo. 

A resolution was passed regarding an easement at the Sunset Lane lift station to reflect a change in property ownership. 

In consent agenda action, the following board appointments were approved: Guttenberg Economic and Industrial Development Board — Austin Coon and Karen Merrick for terms ending in 2018; Recreation Board — Al Ullerich, to fill the term of Margaret Mackey, who has resigned.

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