City bridge, RR crossing on council agenda

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By Shelia Tomkins

At the regular monthly meeting on Sept. 12, the Guttenberg city council moved forward on the Garber Road bridge replacement project, closed the Pryam Street railroad closing, and discussed the possibility of licensing of cats.

Mayor Pro Tem Steve Friedlein presided in the absence of Mayor Russ Loven. Councilmembers Jane Parker, Virginia Saeugling, Fred Schaub, and Austin Greve were present, along with Assistant City Manager Jamie Blume and City Attorney Michael Schuster.

Discussion was held on bids received from two engineering firms  for the Garber Road bridge replacement project. The bridge is located in the city limits just off Highway 52. The council unanimously voted to award the contract to IIW Engineers. 

No public comments were received at a public hearing on the closing of the Pryam Street railroad crossing. The council unanimously approved a resolution to close the crossing, a decision made following discussion at previous meetings.

The council considered the question of licensing cats, an item placed on the agenda after a resident had a pet "relocated" to the country by another resident. Cat owners Lori Wallac, Jeff Dolan and Jane Thein were present and took part in the discussion. Police officer Jacob Regal explained how the department handles calls for animals at large and attempts to determine the owner before taking them to the local vet clinic. After further discussion there was no council consensus on how to handle the question and no action was taken. 

Discussion was held on the nodes at intersections in the downtown area. Overgrown shrubs in the nodes can create a safety hazard. It was the council's consensus to have the bushes cut back for the remainder of the season and to consider alternatives in the future.

Realtor Gary Willman spoke to the council prior to consideration of a resolution to approve a preliminary plat of the Wilson Subdivision off Acre Street. Willman presented a map and gave a history of the property that sits at the top of the bluff. Neighboring property owners would like to purchase lots from the Wilson estate. Based on a recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission, the council unanimously voted to approve the resolution.

The council approved an amendment updating city code to comply with new legisation. 

Molly Moser, representing the Guttenberg Gallery and Creativity Center, presented an update on the programs, activities, membership, and funding of the non-profit center during the past year.

Marina manager Jim Zerbe gave recommendations during a discussion on lease fees, size limits on slips, and subletting issues. At his recommendation, the council's consenses was to continue one more year at the current rate for leases and consider a change next fall. The council unanimously voted to  increase the  transient rate from $1.25 to $1.30 per foot for the coming year.   

The council approved an independent auditor's report on city finances as of June 30, 2015.

The city's closed camera system is in need of upgrading, and the council reviewed bids from two companies. The item was tabled to get more information on costs, time frame and customer references. 

The council unanimously voted to make an offer on a parcel of property west of Acre Street with an eye toward future use as the site of a city-owned electric substation. 

The council discussed a six-month review and pay rate for Assistant City Manager/Deputy Clerk Jamie Blume. The council approved the contract after coming to a consensus on longevity pay, disability pay and hourly wage. The council also gave its approval to Blume's secondary part-time job.

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