City council acts on cell tower request

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By Shelia Tomkins

Mayor Bill Frommelt led the Guttenberg city council through a 30-item agenda at the regular monthly council meeting on Aug. 9. 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.

Cell tower lease

Representatives from Northeast Iowa Telephone Co.,  who spoke to the council at last month's meeting, returned to continue discussion on extending their lease for the cell phone tower that sits on city property near the swimming pool. The lease expires in 2030 but NEIT is in the process of long-range planning for future needs, and had asked the city to extend its lease. The city made a proposal prior to the meeting. "The proposal we received is no where anything we can accept with our business model," said the NEIT spokesperson. He said his company was looking at other locations outside of city property if they could not reach an agreement with the city. Discussion followed on the length of the lease, the amount, and the annual percentage increase. The current rate is $625 per month and the current lease expires in 2030. After lengthy discussion, the council offered $8,000 annually, with a 20-year extension and an annual increase of 2.5%. Formal approval of the terms will appear on next month's agenda. The council also okayed the reinstallation of the communications shelter at the tower.

Schiller Street project

Jeff Rouse of Veenstra Kim, the engineering firm handling the Schiller Street project, gave an update on the project. Light poles have been delayed due to supplier issues but are expected to be installed by October. Discussion was held on an issue with the placement of a limestone planter adjacent to St. Mary's parking lot south of Schiller Street that left little room for sidewalk use. Possible options were presented by Rouse. A meeting with the city staff, church representatives and the engineer will be held to decide on the best course of action. 

Other business

Discussion was held on controlling the geese population in the area of Limbeck Pond and the swimming pool. Police Chief Derek Chambers said he didn't think harassment would be an effective way to keep them out of the area. "They will come back no matter what we do," he said. The city manager said the Iowa DNR is willing to help by tampering with their eggs, which would discourage the geese from nesting in the area.   

Chamber of Commerce director Brandie Tomkins received council approval to close streets for Germanfest, the same as in the past, and for the route of the GMHC 5-K walk/run. The council also approved the Chamber application for a grant for a historical marker

Police Chief Derek Chambers reported that 11 applications were received for a full-time position in the department, to fill the vacancy created when he became police chief. He said that after testing and interviews, a candidate will be named and presented to the council for approval.

An employment agreement was approved for the new librarian, Katey Simon. 

Community Vitality Director Emily Yaddof spoke to the council about a proposed crosswalk mural project. The council okayed the project and approved funding for paint and supplies. 

The council approved a fee-based agreement with City Attorney Michael Schuster.

At last month's meeting, the council passed the first reading of an updated ordinance pertaining to ATVs, UTVs and snowmobiles. At Monday night's meeting, the council gave final approval to the ordinance. The city manager said the biggest changes were rules on who and how the vehicles can be operated, and that ATVs will now only be allowed for snow removal.

The council okayed the sale of a vacated portion of Broadway Street and the alley to Terry and Lynne Winch. 

The council decided to move forward on a request from Mark and Janet Kohlmeyer and a request from Megan and Bob Liebe to purchase city property. 

More options will be researched for the Limbeck Pond sediment removal project. 

The engineer from Veenstra Kim said the trail study is being finalized and will be available for review at the next monthly meeting.

The council accepted final work for the sanitary sewer improvement 2020 project. 

Property owners along North Fifth Street presented a request to extend sewer and power to that area.  Various options were discussed. The city manager said that the city is planning to redo Fifth Street in the future, and the council okayed her suggestion that the city could cover the cost of engineering work for the sewer. The city will also work with the property owners to establish electric connection. 

A public hearing was scheduled for a grant application to be submitted to the state for a Community Development Block Grant for a major water improvement project. 

The low bid of $21,500 from Friedlein Excavating was accepted to demolish two buildings on city property south of the municipal building. 

A "for sale" sign will be placed on the vacant city lot formerly occupied by the Palmer house.

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