Belle Plaine Council talks water, properties at December 1 meeting

Belle Plaine City Hall

Belle Plaine, Iowa

December 1, 2021

The Belle Plaine City Council met on December 1, 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 Lyle Morrow. Garrett Landuyt was absent. Also present: City Administrator Stephen Beck and Assistant City Clerk Sandy Walton. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

The mayor removed action on the Belle Plaine Airport master agreement as well as the closed session items for this meeting.

Motion by Pech to approve the consent agenda consisting of the council minutes of November 17, 2021, and bills received, seconded by Malcolm. On roll call vote, all voted aye. Motion carried.

Residents Comments: None.

Reinspection reports of several properties were reviewed. Council took the following action:

Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Morrow to have our lawyer proceed with court action on the property at 1507 6th Avenue. No progress has been made on the property. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Motion by Schlesselman, seconded by Malcolm to have our lawyer proceed with court action on the property at 1502 6th Avenue. Although there had been some work completed early on, there has been no recent contact nor any request for additional time. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Action on the property at 1402 2nd Avenue included a Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Pech to have our lawyer send the owner a copy of the re-inspection report requesting a detailed plan and timeline of future repairs and to have the garage cleaned out by the January 5, 2022, council meeting. Failure to meet this request will result in court action. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Demolition permit papers have been filed for the property at 503 6th Street. No action required at this time.

Demolition permit papers have been filed for the property at 1303 7th Avenue. No action required at this time.

Motion by Morrow, seconded by Pech to have our lawyer send notice to the owner of the property at 1111 15th Street letting them know it is to be demolished by February 1, 2022, and all corresponding debris removed. Failure to meet this deadline may result in court action. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Morrow to have our lawyer proceed with court action on the property at 1005 9th Avenue. No progress has been made. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Initial inspection reports of several other properties were reviewed. Council took the following action:

Motion by Morrow, seconded by Pech to approve a 60-day extension on the property at 408 13th Street (address shows incorrectly as 403 13th Street on agenda). Consistent progress has been made on noted items of concern. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Demolition permit papers have been picked up by the owner of 1504 7th Avenue. Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Pech to request the demolition permit papers be returned by December 6th and that the house be demolished by December 31st, 2021. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Motion by Schlesselman, seconded by Morrow to have both 1411 10th Avenue property and 1306 6th Avenue property reinspected. Will have Chief Hudson start process to get court orders for this reinspection. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Motion by Schlesselman, seconded by Malcolm to approve a Belle Plaine Business Incentive Grant (commercial interior grant) to Drahn Insurance Agency Inc at 821 13th Street for $3,080.02. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

A discussion was held regarding a possible rebate on the January water bills for all water customers due to the rust problems we have incurred this fall. Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Morrow to approve a water rebate for all water customers to represent approximately 715 gallons of water. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Motion by Schlesselman, seconded by Pech to approve the new Community Center Board members, Robin Danker and David Hrabak. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Discussion started regarding the preliminary water study engineering report prepared by Veenstra & Kimm. Steve is to stay in frequent contact with them to get the updated report. Council talked about the best areas to dig new wells, removing the tiling and recharging the well field water table, how to deal with metering the sewer plant, test wells, and the DNR permit process as well as potentially needed environmental studies. These discussions will continue at the next meeting as council is aware that action needs to be taken as soon as possible.

Steve reported that the well levels have lost about a foot in the last three weeks. Primary causes are the numerous main breaks we have been experiencing as well as needed flushing that has taken place. The city continues to utilize Well 6 and that will likely be necessary through the winter as we have had no significant rain to help replenish our shallow wells.

The Council has requested that the City Administrator prepare an outline by mid-January on the direction he recommends regarding wells and infrastructure. This should include possible grants and whether CDBG money can be used for well drilling.

The City Administrator, Stephen Beck, reported that a vendor has been called to help us fix the hydrants that were discovered during flushing to not be in good condition. We intend to fix as many as possible when he is here with the parts that are available. Others will be scheduled. Steve has been in contact with Amy Bjork of Dorsey Whitney regarding The Oaks Development Agreement. The Oaks will need to review it with their own lawyer prior to any additional meetings. Steve and BDG’s Economic Development Executive Director, Kate Robertson, recently attended a meeting with Debi Durham of Iowa Dept of Economic Development in Des Moines. He also reported that we are moving forward with the possible rezoning of an area currently zoned as M-2 and rezoning as C-1. Appropriate public hearings will be planned. Lastly he has been speaking with contractors for budgetary numbers that would be needed for possible grants for The Depot as well as fencing that will be required.

Mayor Dave Fish inquired as to whether the City Council was interested in purchasing a used siren for the west side of town from Benton Emergency Management. Anticipated costs would be $5,000-$6,000 to move it and $800-$1,000 to reprogram. Council determined that if we could figure out available funding, that we should move forward. Steve would like to know if they are single phase or three phase and how old they are. Mayor Fish will inquire.

The emergency management airport exercise did not occur this past fall because of covid restrictions. It has been reset for August/September of 2022.

Benton/Iowa County Development will have a ribbon cutting ceremony somewhere near the county line. No date has yet been set.

There is a BDG meeting next week in Vinton. It will serve as their Christmas Party. Benton Landfill is currently working on their budget. Funds are in good shape. ECICOG meets on December 2nd.

Mayor Fish handed out performance evaluation forms for City Administrator, Steve Beck’s 2-year anniversary. The Council needs to fill them out and return them at the next Council Meeting on December 15th.

Union negotiations have started. Councilperson Schlesselman and Councilperson Pech in addition to Mayor Fish and City Administrator Beck will attend the next meeting with union representatives on December 8th at 3pm.

Old Business: None.

Resident Comments: None

Motion by Malcolm to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Schlesselman. On roll call, all voted aye. Meeting adjourned at 8:34 p.m.

Dave Fish, Mayor

Attest: Sandra Walton, Assistant City Clerk

Transcribed by the Assistant City Clerk subject to Council approval

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