Property maintenance is concern for Belle Plaine City Council

Belle Plaine, Iowa

Belle Plaine City Hall

May 6, 2020

The Belle Plaine City Council met on May 6, 2020, at 6:13 p.m. via Zoom with Mayor Dave Fish presiding in the council chambers. The council members were in rooms around city hall or at home and attended by Zoom on their Chromebooks. The Council members are: Mitch Malcolm, Mary Pech, Mark Tegeler, Judy Schlesselman, and Garrett Landuyt. Also attending electronically were City Administrator Stephen Beck and City Clerk Jacki McDermott. Lance Hinschberger from Belle Plaine Parks and Rec was present to video the meeting for Facebook. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Motion by Landuyt, seconded by Malcolm to approve the Consent Agenda, the Council Minutes of April 15, 2020, and bills received. On roll call vote, all voted Aye, motion carried.

Resident Comments: none.

Motion by Tegeler, seconded by Schlesselman to approve a copier lease for the city hall. On roll call vote, all voted Aye, motion carried.

Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Landuyt allowing the Farmer’s Market to open on their regular scheduled time from June through October, with only food items and stretched out spacing. Wearing masks is a suggestion, especially when residents can come to city hall to get free masks. On roll call vote, all voted Aye, motion carried. Motion by Schlesselman, seconded by Tegeler, to approve the closing of Main Street (12th Street) from 9th Avenue to 10th Avenue every Friday starting June 1st to September 30th from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. for the Belle Plaine Farmer’s Market. On roll call vote, all voted Aye, motion carried. Motion by Schlesselman, seconded by Malcolm to approve a regular porta potty from Port O Jonny and for city employees being responsible for extra cleaning of it during midweek. On roll call vote, all voted Aye, motion carried.

Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Tegeler to approve Resolution 20-05-02: a resolution setting the public hearing on delinquent animal licenses for June 3, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. On roll call vote, all voted Aye, motion carried.

Motion by Tegeler, seconded by Landuyt to approve Resolution 20-05-03: a resolution setting the mileage reimbursement rate for employees. The rate is currently 57 ½ cents per mile and will be adjusted on January 1st each year. On roll call vote, all voted Aye, motion carried.

Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Pech to set the public hearing on the fiscal year 2020 budget amendment for May 20, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. at city hall. On roll call vote, all voted Aye, motion carried.

Motion by Pech, seconded by Schlesselman to approve the application of Daniel and Deborah Drahos for tax abatement under the Belle Plaine Revitalization Plan for a new garage at 802 9th Avenue. On roll call vote, all voted Aye, motion carried.

Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Tegeler to approve Resolution 20-05-05: a resolution in support of a workforce housing tax credit benefit application to be submitted to the Iowa Economic Developmental Authority by Rural Housing 360, LLC for housing projects in Belle Plaine. On roll call vote, all voted Aye, motion carried.

The Council discussed Ordinance #158: an ordinance amending the Code of Ordinances of the City of Belle Plaine by adding in provisions pertaining to a property maintenance code. Schlesselman stated that she had concerns about enforceability. With sweeping changes, she asked how it will be enforced, and in regards to interior problems in homes, she inquired how the city will get involved. Pech stated that she had the same concerns. She wanted to know if this ordinance has been tested in court and mentioned that someone will have to be assigned or hired as a neutral person to enforce this code.

The City Administrator, Stephen Beck, noted that Chief Hudson has asked that the City pass this ordinance to “put more teeth” into the nuisance ordinances. He also noted that this would take an enforcement officer and depend on how well trained they would be.

Malcom said that the Council should “tread lightly.” He said, for example, a home might have a bad roof. Our current ordinance does not allow us to go in the house.

Tegeler said that he had no problem with how the proposed ordinance is written. For example, if there is a gaping problem, there might be “push back” on privacy issues with sending people inside to inspect.

Beck said the objective is to “grab the low hanging fruit” to get unoccupied homes. The Mayor remarked that a person might be surprised about how many houses with peeling paint and bad shingles are out there and many of those people are on fixed incomes so they don’t have a lot of money for repairs. The Mayor said that he is going to “pull this off the table” until the Council is able to meet again in regular sessions. The goal is not to punish people but to go after unacceptable, almost abandoned houses.

City Administrator Stephen Beck told the Council that Well #3 has now failed. The goal will be to sink a new 18-inch casing into the same hole. Work will begin soon on flushing all the hydrants.

Mayor Dave Fish updated the council on state directives regarding coronavirus. He also told the council that the city is working on a grant from the Department of Agriculture to pay for computers for the police vehicles

There will be a practice council meeting for ten minutes on Wednesday May 13th at 6:00 p.m. to make sure the Chromebooks and Zoom system work from council members’ homes.

Old Business: None

Motion by Tegeler to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Landuyt. On roll call vote, all voted Aye. Meeting adjourned at 7:18 p.m.

Dave Fish, Mayor

Attest: Jacki McDermott, City Clerk

Transcribed by the City Clerk subject to Council approval

Claims Approved by the City Council on May 6, 2020
$3,600.00Advanced Homes, LLC (Housing 360 contract)
$13,776.09Alliant Energy (all bills)
$62.20ATCO (foamacide)
$882.68Austin Wille (Police Dept – ILEA mileage & meals)
$182.23Avesis (insurance premiums)
$381.17Ben Eden (Police Dept – ILEA mileage & meals)
$3,150.10Benton County Sold Waste Commission (gate fees 2 months)
$75.00Brad Cook (Comm Ctr Rental refund)
$219.26Casey’s Business Mastercard (fuel)
$159.00Countryside Veterinary Clinic (boarding strays)
$49.95Dollar General (supplies)
$6,737.36Eastern Iowa Tire (vehicle operations-loader)
$6,987.83Ehlen Plumbing & Heating (water leak repairs)
$296.62Emblem Enterprises (shirt patches for police department)
$28.50Fresh Scents of Iowa (restroom deodorizers)
$421.33Friedman Farm Supply (mower maint)
$850.00Furler Utlity Service (sewer affidavit operator)
$1,328.35Grieder Standard (fuel – all depts)
$103.40Group Services (insurance premiums)
$1,140.85H & L Repair (sweeper & gator repairs)
$2,869.50Hamilton Construction & Concrete (street patch, curb&gutter)
$1,649.98Independent Tech Solutions (security system airport)
$3,914.00Independent Tech Solutions (chromebooks for council)
$27.00Iowa One Call (one call notices-Jan thru Mar)
$51.80Jason Kaplan (postage)
$231.73John Grieder Motors (Fire Dept – service vehicles)
$1,084.10Keystone Laboratories (water/sewer lab fees)
$1,852.27KMDE LLC (solar panels)
$14.36Koch Office Group (copier contract-Library)
$1,012.97Kollmorgen, Schlue & Zahradnic (legal services)
$2,207.55Lance-Scapes (Fire Dept landscaping)
$294.00Lynn Peavey Company (pandemic supplies for police)
$234.56Manatt’s (ice control sand)
$400.00Brian Mantz Graphics (lettering on new sign)
$103.50Nick Viall (clothing allowance)
$165.52P & K Midwest (vehicle operations – 1445 tractor)
$80.74Pitney Bowes (postage meter leasing)
$322.31Postmaster (utility postcard postage bill)
$242.50Rite Way Pest Control (all buildings)
$478.80Scharnweber, Inc. (airport bldg maint & well maint)
$775.79Schimberg Co (water supplies)
$195.55Stamp Ag (lawn seed & fertilizer)
$9,859.00Stamp Ag (Airport mower)
$93.76Storey Kenworthy/Matt Parrott (supplies)
$1.84Thomas Pittman 2000 Trust (water acct refund)
$100.30Titan Machinery (loader repair)
$85.00T.L. Fabrications, Ltd. (man hole cover repair)
$151.35Town & Country Wholesale Co (library supplies)
$225.00Trent Grieder (mowing all depts)
$59.00Trugreen (lawn service)
$283,151.25UMB (debt service)
$10,355.90UnitedHealthCare (premiums)
$221.55Unum (life insurance premiums)
$857.32USA Communications (phone-all depts)
$80.02Verizon (police cell)
$35.00VGM Forbin (monthly LogMeIn access)
$751.24Wellmark (dental premiums)
$773.01Wendling Quarries (rock)
$504.87Zip Mart (fuel all dept)

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