Lengthy meeting for city council

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By Shelia Tomkins

The Guttenberg city council, in a meeting that lasted nearly three hours, covered a varied agenda at its regular meeting on July 12.

Mayor Bill Frommelt led the council through the evening's agenda. On hand for the meeting were council members Mick Pierce, Austin Greve, Fred Schaub, Virginia Saeugling and Jane Parker, City Manager Denise Schneider and City Attorney Michael Schuster.

Schiller Street project

Jeff Rouse of Veenstra Kim, the engineering firm handling the Schiller Street project, said that work was nearing completion and that he expected all hard surfaces should be finished by the third week in July. Seeding and light poles will be part of the final phase.

Limbeck Pond dredging

Steve Thompson of Veenstra Kim  spoke to the council about bids for the dredging of Limbeck Pond and recommended tabling the matter until he can clarify a figure with the bidder. He also gave an update on the city's trail study, saying it is nearing completion and he will present the final study at the next regular council meeting. 

Rezoning and property requests 

The council approved rezoning for two lots in the block across from Clayton Ridge High School from R-3 Mixed Residential to C-2 General Office and Retail. The council also okayed rezoning a lot in Block 92 in north Guttenberg from M-2 Industrial to R-2 Single Family Residential. 

The council approved moving forward with a request from Terry and Lynne Winch to purchase a portion of Broadway Street and the alley.

Brandon Kann spoke on behalf of BAR Holding Corp. about a request to purchase a portion of Sixth Street and lot in north Guttenberg. He questioned the $12,500 appraisal and asked for a reduction in the price. After discussion the council voted to set the cost at $6,000 plus fees.

The council decided to move forward on a request from Mark and Janet Kohlmeyer to purchase a small parcel of city land adjacent to their property on the Great River Road. 

CDBG grant application

Heidi Hackman from Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission addressed the council about a Community Development Block Grant housing grant application. The council approved submitting an application for $169,400 in funds for exterior improvements on four owner-occupied houses in Guttenberg.  

County Development funding

Darla Kelchen from Clayton County Development Group gave a presentation about CCDG's current marketing campaign and said the annual application for funding is being prepared for Upper Mississippi Gaming Corporation. She asked for a $3,000 pledge from the city. The Guttenberg Chamber of Commerce is giving $1,500. After discussion the council decided to make a donation of $1,500. 

Historic Preservation guidelines

Lee Johnston of the Guttenberg Historic Preservation Commission addressed the council about local historic properties and advocated for developing "design guidelines," suggestions that would be a resource for property owners in city historic district. She said grant money is available to develop the guidelines, and she received council support for applying for a grant.

Cemetery columbariums

Upon recommendation from the city cemetery board, the council approved the purchase of two columbariums, structures that will be used to store cremation urns. The low bid was for $9,095 each. 

Other business

Representatives from Northeast Iowa Telephone Co. spoke to the council about extending its lease for a cell phone tower that sits on city property near the swimming pool. The lease expires in 2030 but long-range planning is in the works to prepare for future needs. After discussion, the Mayor said the city would get back to NEIT in a week with a proposal, and that the matter would then be placed on the next meeting agenda. 

The city manager gave an update on nuisance properties, and the council decided to move forward with abatement proceedings regarding Rausch Petroleum properties. Discussion was also held on other nuisance issues with city properties. Tim Schmitt spoke to the council about the release of funds in his nuisance abatement escrow fund.  

The council approved the first reading of an amendment to the UTV/ATV/snowmobile ordinance.

Discussion was held on a city shed and tower on Acre Street that houses communication equipment for the hospital and paging system. The shed is in need of replacement. Councilman Schaub will have the county draft an agreement for review by the city. 

Guttenberg Chamber of Commerce Director Brandie Tomkins received council permission to publicize GermanFest with designs drawn on sidewalks. 

Mike Hefel, who has a business on leased riverfront property in the downtown area, spoke to the council about modifying the boundaries of his lease and talked about maintenance concerns. The council tabled the matter until the next meeting. 

The council took no action on the agenda item regarding the new federal holiday, Juneteenth. 

The council went into closed session to discuss a matter where litigation is imminent. No action was taken upon the return to open session.

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