Belle Plaine Council hears reports on trees and water wells at October 20 meeting

Belle Plaine, Iowa

October 20, 2021

The Belle Plaine City Council met on October 20, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. at the Belle Plaine Community Center to allow for social distancing, with Mayor Dave Fish presiding. Present: Mary Pech, Judy Schlesselman, Mitch Malcolm and Garrett Landuyt. The Ward 1 council seat is vacant. Also present: City Administrator Stephen Beck and City Clerk Jacki McDermott. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Motion by Landuyt to approve the consent agenda consisting of the council minutes of October 6, 2021, with the change of November 1,2021, for the deadline for 408 13th Street and to change the address of 1003 7th Avenue on one of the properties to 1303 7th Avenue; and bills received, seconded by Malcolm. On roll call, all voted aye. Motion carried. The mayor announced there would be no closed session and the city attorney was not present.

Residents Comments: None

Rachel Montgomery from Belle Plaine Community Development Corporation told the council that her group is working on plans for Holiday Homecoming on November 27, 2021. There will be no festival of trees this year. The city Christmas Tree will be located near the library and the Sound Park might have Christmas lighting. She told them about attending a Main Street Iowa Conference in Fort Dodge and remarked about the workshop where they talked about the assets in each person’s own town and the group also did a walking tour of Fort Dodge. Next Tuesday, October 26th, there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Blu Luna C the new yoga studio at 4:00 p.m. On Tuesday October 26th at 6:00 p.m., a City Council Candidate Forum will be held at the Community Center.

Rachel Montgomery from Belle Plaine Community Development and Kae Palmer presented a plan to the Council about care for the bio-cells downtown. There are 33 bio-cells and they would like to plant the smaller cells with various kinds of coneflowers and then thin out and organize the plants in the larger cells. They would like to weed and rock or mulch to get cells “under control.” Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Pech to approve their bio-cell proposal if they only use chemicals that the Parks and Rec Board uses in the parks and that there is an annual review of the plan. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Motion by Landuyt, seconded by Schlesselman to approve Resolution 21-10-09 authorizing Michael Campbell and Andrew Markham to carry weapons (shot gun, handgun and taser). On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried. Malcolm also commented that citizens have mentioned to him the increased police presence in our community.

Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Pech to approve Resolution 21-10-10 a resolution setting further procurement policy to meet federal regulations. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Motion by Pech, seconded by Landuyt to approve a sewer bill rebate at 807 5th Avenue because of a burst water pipe in the basement. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried. They also asked that the Assistant City Clerk upgrade the rebate form so it reads “utility bill” not “water bill.”

Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Schlesselman to approve a sewer bill rebate to 807 13th Street because of a leak in the system. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

The Committee of the Whole discussed a sign ordinance and looked at examples from other cities. One option might be requiring signs to be smaller. Another option might be only allowing temporary signage, for example for 90 days.

Steve Beck, City Administrator, discussed possible options of each house in town having a utility account even if the house is not occupied. The 13th Street property the City owns was also discussed and the lawyer will be asked to check on the status of removing the building from the Historical Register. Mary Preston mentioned that at the Lincoln Highway Association meeting of October 9, 2021, a group mentioned forming an LLC and is hoping the City of Belle Plaine will transfer the title to the building to them. They also reported the same thing in July.

Steve Beck also mentioned that the Tree Grant is going well and that planting will begin next week. The City has had three water main breaks this week and a sewer repair project on 10th Avenue. He met with Tracy Seeman from the Benton County Board of Supervisors about rezoning The Oaks property. He is also getting quotes for ice melt for the downtown sidewalks.

Steve Beck also told the Council that the city wells are slowly depleting. He has personally been talking with any citizens who call in to the office about the water situation. He urged citizens who have concerns to call city hall. He also told them he has a meeting tomorrow with a volunteer liaison from United Way. Tomorrow, he will also be meeting with the FAA and Bruce Gapstur from the Airport Commission about future airport projects.

Mayor Dave Fish told the Council that the city workers have received a proposal from Wellmark for their health care with similar rates to this year. He asked if the council wanted the city staff to handle the renewal or would they rather bring in the agent for a meeting with council. They chose to let the staff handle the renewal. He also told the Council he attended a meeting of the Iowa County Development group and Benton Development Group where they developed a joint agreement between the two groups and developed the job description of the new assistant’s job. He also asked City Administrator Steve Beck to call Veenstra and Kimm engineers about the water project report so they could begin to develop a plan for a new well. He further noted he would be attending a think tank exercise put on by the East Central Iowa Council of Governments, and the meeting of the Benton Landfill Commission.

Correspondence: EMC Insurance sent a letter about insurance coverage at the sewer basin project. The next step will be to ask the City Attorney about the strategy in the litigation with WRH.

Motion by Landuyt to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Malcolm. On roll call, all voted aye. Meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

Dave Fish, Mayor

Attest: Jacki McDermott, City Clerk

Transcribed by the City Clerk subject to Council approval

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