City council sets date for bond vote

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By Shelia Tomkins

The Guttenberg city council at its regular monthly meeting on Dec. 4 heard an update on the Wave of the Future swimming pool campaign and set March 6 as the date of a bond election to help finance pool construction.

Mayor Russ Loven and Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Friedlein were on hand for the last monthly meeting of their terms, joining councilmembers Austin Greve, Fred Schaub, Virginia Saeugling and Jane Parker; City Manager Denise Schneider, and City Attorney Michael Schuster.

Pool financing

With a full house of pool committee members crowding the council chambers, Dr. Jim Osterhaus and Dr. Robert Merrick, honorary chairs of the Wave of the Future campaign, gave an update on fund-raising progress and asked the council to set a date for a bond issue to help finance the remainder of the cost. The council unanimously approved an election set for March 6 for an amount not to exceed $2.8 million. (See complete story on this page.) 

In a related action, the council approved a contract with Burbach Aquatics for the next step in their professional services. 

Garbage rate increase

The council unanimously approved a 50-cent increase in the monthly fee for solid waste collection, increasing to $18 for residential customers and $17.50 for senior citizens. 

Wholesale power proposals

The city manager gave an update on the city's search for a wholesale power provider. The council received a consultant's analysis of proposals from several providers, but the report was characterized by the mayor as written in a manner that was difficult for the average person to understand. The city manager said the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities suggested looking into buying groups, which she did, and  reported that responses were received from some of those groups. The council tabled the matter for further study.

Union proposal

The council considered a proposal from the city workers' union seeking a 58-cents per hour raise with no changes in the present insurance contract. The current employee contract expires at the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2018. The council proposed no change and asked the city manager to do a cost analysis of the proposal.

Riverfront leases

The council considered recommendations from the Riverfront Advisory Board regarding rates for lease permits as well as the leases of Twin Towers Services Inc./Winegar, Knockbone LLC and William Kann.

A lengthy discussion followed on determining equitable rates for leases that have varying components, such as shoreline footage and/or street access. Business owner Mike Hefel said that he thinks the Riverfront Advisory Board should meet more than just once a year and should make individualized recommendations based on discussion with lease holders. Gary Stirn of Twin Towers/Winegars told the council that the length of a lease is of major concern, since longer leases promote business stability. He also noted improvements his business has made on leased land.

The council approved the Riverfront Advisory Board recommendation of $8 per foot for one-year lease permits, and the board's recommendations for the terms of the Knockbone LLC and William Kann leases. The council instructed the city attorney to draw up a 20-year lease for Twin Towers/Winegar with a periodic five-year review of the rate, with any increase not to exceed the consumer price index. A public hearing on the Winegar lease was set for the January council meeting. 


The following appointments were approved:

Community Development Block Grant Housing: Steve Rausch, Mary Lee Moser and Denise Schneider

Cable TV Commission: Nancy McClellan and John Hartmann

Cemetery Board: Janice Andregg and Fran Leeman

Clayton County Emergency Management: Fred Schaub

E911 Board: Fred Schaub

Historic Preservation Commission: Charles Finch 

Kids Kampus: Jamie Blume

Regional Housing Authority: Denise Schneider

Riverfront Advisory: Mary Waterman.

Other business

The council voted to purchase approximately a dozen new tablets from U.S. Cellular for city officials and staff. 

The  council okayed a plan to use Community Development Block Grant funds for home repairs for Guttenberg residents. 

The council denied a request from Deputy City Clerk Jamie Blume for retroactive additional compensation for the time she served as interim city manager.  

Closing remarks

At the close of the meeting, Mayor Loven thanked the community for the opportunity to serve the past seven years. Council member Steve Friedlein also expressed his thanks and recommended that all citizens consider public service.

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