BELLE PLAINE COUNCIL: Jan. 5, 2022

Belle Plaine, Iowa

January 5, 2022

The Belle Plaine City Council met on January 5, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. at the Belle Plaine Community Center to allow for social distancing, with Mayor Dave Fish presiding in the council chambers. Present: Mitch Malcolm, Mary Pech, Judy Schlesselman, Garrett Landuyt and Lyle Morrow. Also present: City Administrator Stephen Beck, City Clerk Sandy Walton, and City Attorney Jennifer Zahradnik. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Motion by Landuyt, seconded by Malcolm to approve the Consent Agenda, the Council Minutes of December 15, 2021, with a typo correction in the Administrators report changing “not” an empty lot to “now” an empty lot, and bills received. On roll call vote, all voted Aye, motion carried.

Resident Comments: Delbert Meeks of 1404 2nd Avenue expressed concern over council entertaining renovation plans for the house next to his considering they had already discussed this property at a prior meeting. He will be allowed to express his concerns during the discussion later in the meeting.

The mayor opened the public hearing concerning the rezoning of the area along 13th Street from 7th avenue west to 3rd Avenue, south of 13th Street. (Change from M-2 to C-1) Mary Preston of 402 13th Street expressed concerns that if more new buildings are being built in that area, what did the city intend to do with additional vacant buildings in town. It was explained that the rezoning was to correct the zoning in that area from industrial to commercial as all buildings that are already there are commercial businesses. We are not expecting a lot of new businesses to be built there; possibly only one. Gary Goudelock from Whitfield & Eddy was present to thank the council for their consideration of this rezoning. Hank Wehrman inquired as to what new business was considering building in the rezoned area. Mr. Goudelock said that Dollar General was interested in building there. Our City Administrator mentioned that he was aware of someone that might be interested in moving to the old Dollar General building should it become vacant. The mayor closed the public hearing.

Motion by Schlesselman, seconded by Morrow to approve the first reading of Ordinance #22-1: an ordinance that amends Section 165.05 of the Belle Plaine Municipal Code to change the zoning of the property located on the south side of 13th Street from 7th Avenue to 3rd Avenue in Belle Plaine, Iowa. (Change from M-2 to C-1) On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Motion by Landuyt, seconded by Pech to approve waiving the second reading of Ordinance #22-1: an ordinance that amends Section 165.05 of the Belle Plaine Municipal Code to change the zoning of the property located on the south side of 13th Street from 7th Avenue to 3rd Avenue in Belle Plaine, Iowa. (Change from M-2 to C-1) On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Note: The third reading will be reviewed for possible passage at the next meeting on January 19, 2022.

The mayor opened the public hearing concerning amending the current budget (July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022). A few clarification questions were asked by council members and answered by the City Clerk. No comments/questions were received from the public. The mayor closed the public hearing.

Motion by Pech, seconded by Malcolm to approve Resolution #22-01-01: a resolution amending the Belle Plaine City Budget for the FY 2022. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

A public hearing for the nuisance abatements on the properties at 204 10th Street and 205 11th Street was granted to Robert Brown (B&B Custom Farming, Inc.) who was in attendance. Mr. Brown went through each item in both nuisance abatement letters, addressing each concern. Tracy Alden of 107 11th Street was present to express concerns over the 10th Street property nuisances, specifically concerned with the semi cutting across their property at 202 10th Street. Also, that there is a semi-trailer parked so close to her garage on that property that they cannot even fit in between it to cut weeds or paint the building. The City Attorney cited 3 ordinances that seem to specifically pertain to the semi that Mr. Brown has parked in the right-of-way (69.05, 69.07, and 69.10). Landuyt made a motion, seconded by Morrow to have Mr. Brown comply with the following action items:

  1. Make sure the semi is parked legally. He has one week in which to comply.
  2. Allow Chief Hudson to re-check the limo to confirm it is legally licensed.
  3. In February, Chief Hudson will check that all vehicles on the properties are licensed.
  4. Equipment needs to remain on the commercial lot, not the residential lot.

On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

A discussion was had regarding the current state of the dangerous building status for the property at 1402 2nd Avenue and their provided renovation plans. Neighbor Delbert Meeks was in attendance to express his concerns with allowing this situation to persist. It has gone on too long and garbage items continue to blow into his yard. City Attorney Zahradnik commented that the person we have been dealing with (Virginia Smalley) is not the owner of record which is Marcus Coleman and any agreement made with her may not be legally binding. Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Landuyt to reject the provided renovation plan and proceed to court. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried. The City Attorney will send a letter to Ms. Smalley explaining the ruling.

The mayor updated council on the state of the dangerous building status for the property at 1504 7th Avenue and the plans for demolition. Demolition equipment is on-site waiting on Alliant to shut off gas to the property. Discussion was held regarding the garages and whether they will be coming down at nearly the same time as the house (the nicer garage is staying to our knowledge). The mayor will confirm those details.

No action was taken by Committee of the Whole.

Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Pech to approve The Hometown Current as the official newspaper of the City of Belle Plaine. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Motion by Morrow, seconded by Landuyt to approve the renewal of the Class C beer permit, Class B wine permit, & Sunday sales for the Dolgencorp, LLC operating as Dollar General Store #6648, 1406 Sunset Drive, Belle Plaine, Iowa. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Motion by Landuyt, seconded by Morrow to approve the renewal of a Class C liquor license, with outdoor service & Sunday sales for the Jennings Bradshaw Post #39 at 1008 12th Street, Belle Plaine, Iowa. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Pech to set the first City of Belle Plaine Budget Workshop for 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 11th, 2022, at the Belle Plaine Community Center. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Landuyt to approve resolution #22-01-02: a resolution setting the new boundaries for the voting wards in Belle Plaine, Iowa (based on the 2020 census data). On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.

The City Administrator, Stephen Beck, reported on several items. The well field is holding steady with no measurable gain or loss. The house at 910 8th Avenue, the house at 1207 16th Street, and the small trailer park at 703 7th Street have all been demolished and backfilled. We have updated the city’s email server to .gov which adds security to our systems. We have replaced the overhead door at the food pantry as the old one was in poor condition and no longer offering good protection from the elements. We are still waiting on Veenstra & Kimm to get the rural water component of the water study completed. Steve has been dealing with the filter company that the mayor found. He will be creating a miniature mock-up of the filter system to deal with hardness, iron & manganese. He will come down from Milwaukee soon to review it with us. Both of us are optimistic of its success. The Christmas lights will be taken down within the next two weekends. Al took down the new snowflake decorations prior to the extreme winds we recently received. Rural broadband continues to be a focus for our local carriers, which is good for Belle Plaine. Judy commented on the positive newsletter Steve issued this month.

Mayor Fish reported ECICOG’s recent meeting for budget items and paying bills was short. The nominating committee has approached Mayor Fish and will be recommending him for Vice-President of ECICOG. The Benton Development Group office is moving to Belle Plaine to the back of the Drahn Insurance building. This will be for no more than one year with plans for it to move more permanently to either Van Horne or Vinton. The Iowa County office is in the mall at Williamsburg. A senate candidate asked to address the council. Council determined that they were not interested in campaign rhetoric and said the candidate was welcome to stop at City Hall and meet with the Mayor and City Administrator.

Correspondence: We received a note from Rachel with Belle Plaine Community Development thanking The City for its support. There was an article about the Benton Development Group/Iowa County Community Development partnership, and an article about City Clerk Jacki McDermott’s retirement. There was also a very nice letter from Henry B Tippie. The mayor handed out BPCDC Financial reports from the past three years.

Old Business: none

Resident Comments: Delbert Meeks again reiterated his concerns with allowing the current property owner at 1402 2nd Avenue to proceed with remodeling.

Motion by Morrow, seconded by Schlesselman to enter into closed session at 8:20 p.m. under Iowa Code 21.5 (1) (j) to discuss the professional competency of an individual whose appointment, hiring, performance, or discharge is being considered when necessary to prevent needless and irreparable injury to that individual’s reputation and that individual requests a close session, for the evaluation of the City Administrator. On roll call vote, Landuyt, Morrow, Malcolm, Pech, and Schlesselman all voted aye. Motion carried. The City Clerk was excused.

All council members and the Mayor were present for the Closed Session evaluation of City Administrator Steve Beck. Mr. Beck had filed a written statement requesting closed session.

On a motion by Malcolm with a second from Landuyt the council on roll call vote 5-0 came out of closed session at 9:36 p.m. (Landuyt, Morrow, Malcolm, Pech, and Schlesselman all voted aye. There were no negative votes.)

On a motion by Malcolm with a second by Pech on a 5-0 vote (Landuyt, Morrow, Malcolm, Pech, and Schlesselman all voted aye.) the council voted to give City Administrator Steve Beck a 15% wage increase to start on February 1, 2022.

Motion by Landuyt to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Morrow. On roll call vote, all voted Aye. Meeting adjourned at 9:38 p.m.

Dave Fish, Mayor

Attest: Sandra Walton, City Clerk

Transcribed by the City Clerk subject to Council approval

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.