City council hears project updates, sets budget hearing

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In its first meeting of the new year, the Guttenberg city council heard updates on city projects, approved  city staff mowing the proposed dog park and set a public hearing on the budget for Feb. 13.

Mayor Fred Schaub led councilmembers Michelle Geuder, Steve Bahls, Jane Parker, Austin Greve and Mandy Ludovissy through the Jan. 9 agenda. City Manager Denise Schneider was also at the council table. 

City projects

Steve Thompson, an engineer with Veenstra and Kimm Inc.,  gave updates on numerous city projects. He said bid letting for the Fifth Street overlay project is scheduled for April. 

Bidding on the water system improvement project in the downtown area is anticipated for early 2023 following DNR permitting. Council consensus was that homeowners should negotiate with the contractor for any service line replacements. 

The Big Spring Trail project is awaiting final property line locations and right of way limits.

Thompson said he is providing pro bono help for the Guttenberg Economic and Industrial Development's building project in the lots south of the municipal building. 

Dog park 

Brandie Tomkins, Community Vitality Director, spoke to the council about the proposed dog park to be located near Bussey Lake. She said there would be licensing, vaccination and liability requirements for those using the park. The council approved her request to have city staff mow and maintain the area.

Budget hearing set

The city manager sought council guidance on the levy for the upcoming budget. The council was agreeable to the idea of using reserves in order to keep the levy comparable to previous years.  The council voted to set a $15.67 levy rate with a public hearing on the matter to be held at the regular monthly meeting on Feb. 13.

Public works position

The council approved the hiring of Kyle Zebuhr for the  public works/water operator position. Plans call for him to begin part-time in January and full-time in April.

Clayton County 


Darla Kelchen of Clayton County Development spoke to the council about the group's annual report, accomplishments and plans for the coming year, discussing tourism activities, marketing campaign, and funding. 

She asked the city to renew its membership and to again  pledge $3,000 to help match a marketing grant from Upper Mississippi Gaming Commission.

Other business

The council okayed moving forward with a 1% franchise fee for the natural gas utility company, replacing the local option tax. The City Manager said that the franchise fees come back to the city, whereas local option taxes are shared by the city and other government entities.

The purchase of a used digger derrick truck for $60,472 received council approval.

During a public hearing on a request by Ron Hoefer to purchase a portion of a vacated street and alley, a neighboring property owner, Chad Van Daele, spoke to the council with questions about the appraisal. The council passed a resolution on a split vote approving the vacation and sale of the parcel for $2,250, with Geuder voting against the motion.

The council approved an amendment to a city ordinance requiring a five-ft. setback for detached garages. The action resolved two conflicting requirements in the code.

Todd and Julia Lammers, who reside on North Bluff Street, spoke to the council with concerns about street drainage following the sale of city right of way to the new dental clinic across from their property. Lammers said he is concerned that any potential catastrophic rain event might flood their basement and spoke about concerns with the street being too high when it gets paved. After lengthy discussion, it was decided that Steve Thompson with Veenstra & Kimm would look at the situation.

Shaun Nelson of Valleyview Campground spoke to the council with concerns about power usage, payments and fees. After lengthy discussion, he was offered the option of having his meter tested

Mike and Tonya Schaffer received council approval to submit a pre-application for a Community Catalyst Grant from Iowa Economic Development to be used toward improvements on a property in the 500 block of South River Park Drive.

Riverfront lease rates will remain the same as last year as recommended by the Riverfront Advisory Board. Discussion was held on marina slip rates, and the council decided to keep them the same for the time being.

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