Belle Plaine, Iowa
October 19, 2022
The Belle Plaine City Council met on October 19, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers with Mayor Dave Fish presiding. Present: Judy Schlesselman, Mitch Malcolm, Garrett Landuyt, Mary Pech, and Lyle Morrow. Also present: City Administrator Stephen Beck, Assistant City Attorney Gage Kensler and City Clerk Sandy Walton. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Motion by Schlesselman, seconded by Malcolm to approve the Consent Agenda, Council Minutes of October 5, 2022, and bills received. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.
Resident Comments: Delbert Meeks of 1404 2nd Avenue expressed continued concern regarding the property at 1402 2nd Avenue. This nuisance has continued, and he is hoping that the city will finally be able to do something about it now that it has a court date. Even though the owner has now said they will take down the buildings, he wants to make sure there is a deadline, and that it is adhered to. Mayor said it would be determined later in the meeting as it is an item on this agenda.
Randy Beal of 1003 9th Avenue spoke of a problem with the tarp on the roof of the nuisance property at 1005 9th Avenue. He would like to know if the city can remove it or what we can do as it is shredding and blowing all over the neighborhood. Mayor said he would have our lawyer and Chief Hudson look at what we might be able to do as the owner is deceased and it does not appear that an estate exists as of yet.
Library Director, Kristi Sorensen, gave a library report on the library. She said that usage of the library services is returning to a more normal level since Covid. The building is roughly 32 years old and some items are now needing repair. There is a new greeting sign, statues, brick work, river rock, seeding, solar panels for device charging and 4 new A/C units. They have made a transition of internet services to USA Communications with Kirkwood leaving own. The next big project will probably be the front windows next spring.
Bruce Gapstur, Airport Manager, was present at the meeting. He will be presenting on airport topics at the next several council meetings. This meeting he explained the current airport property, infrastructure, and equipment. These presentations are in preparation for expected decisions that will be needed in the upcoming years regarding airport repairs and funding.
In review of the 1402 2nd Avenue inspection report the Mayor reported that the owners had just reported that they would be tearing down the house and garage. Gage reported that the trial scheduling meeting had occurred earlier in the day with a court date set for December 14th. After much discussion there was a motion by Morrow, seconded by Malcolm, to set a deadline of December 7th for teardown and cleanup of the property to prevent further court action. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried. Gage will send a letter to the owners informing them of this deadline.
Police Chief Hudson gave his report. The disorderly house ordinance is being typed and will be sent to Gage for review. We will plan on the first reading in November. The police department has had new tasers and body cameras on a test basis. The Chief would like to pursue purchasing them in the next budget year. He also presented some information on Lexipol, a company that provides policy and procedure manuals for law enforcement. They tailor them to each city. Other cities in the area that use them are Williamsburg, Vinton, and the Benton County Sheriff’s office. It could be expensive but would like to look at it during the next budget year.
A brief discussion was held on two nuisance properties that both have tarps on their roofs that have been there since the derecho and are now shredding and blowing into neighbor’s property. The Chief will take pictures of both to document current status. Gage, Kris, and Steve will get together to discuss the situation and determine if there is a specific code violation that can be used for remediation.
City Clerk, Sandy Walton, presented the treasurer’s report, September budget report, and a solar report for the library, city hall, city shop, and community center for the past 6 months. A report for the well field has not yet been created. With the well field coming off of demand rate billing, it makes a comparison difficult at this point. We were paying roughly $1,400 per month and are now receiving roughly a $100 credit each month instead. This is good news. A solar report for this area will need to wait until the bills stabilize.
The Community Center has a small CD that will come due next week. The City Clerk approached 4 different banks to check for the best rates for 12 to 18-month CD’s. The best rate was found at Chelsea Savings Bank for a 19-month special. The current CD will be cashed out and reinvested based on these findings and approval from the Community Center Board.
Committee of the Whole:
There was a discussion of revising the violations and penalties code 55.20 as the $30.00 fine for some of these infractions does not cover the cost to take these items to trial if contested. Sandy will rewrite the code changing $30 items to a 1st violation of $100 and 2nd and subsequent violations to $200 in a calendar year. Items already at $200 will remain at that level. The first draft of the ordinance change will be brought to the next council meeting for discussion and review.
There was also a brief discussion on the water supply engineering report. Jay Hamilton was present to show “before” and “after” water samples of Well #6 using the filter we are testing. Preliminary results are positive, however more testing is needed. The filter appears to remove iron and manganese very well. We need more testing to determine its effects on calcium carbonate. Garrett would like to see us make some decisions on digging another well sooner rather than later regardless of the filter status.
Review of the City Employee Handbook was tabled until the next meeting to give council members an opportunity to more thoroughly review all sections.
Motion by Pech, seconded by Landuyt to approve the Class C Beer Permit, Class B Wine Permit & Sunday Sales for DOLGETCORP LLC (Dollar General Store #6648 at 405 13th Street, Belle Plaine, Iowa. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.
The City Administrator, Stephen Beck, reported that in checking with Emergency Management regarding the sirens, it was discovered that initial reports of estimated costs were not entirely accurate. He is continuing to investigate the true costs of relocating two sirens to Belle Plaine. The units are free, but we need to pay to move and reprogram them. He will provide an update as soon as available. Kirkwood has contacted him and is ready to go over the punch list for transitioning the building to the City. He is also in the process of restructuring the Public Works Department. The Supervisor position has been eliminated and all workers will report to Steve. Lastly, Steve apologized that the Council Meeting feed has dropped 3 times tonight. He will look for a more stable manner to transmit the meetings to the public.
Mayor Fish has the Benton Landfill Meeting on Thursday night and will be serving root beer floats at the school on Friday. Next week he has Benton Development and ECICOG meetings.
Old Business: None
Resident Comments: None
There were no updates from our attorney regarding litigation, so the council did not go into closed session.
Lyle extended thanks to Jay for his hard work. Judy reported that BPCDC has abandoned using the uplighting for holiday homecoming as it was not bright enough. They have another idea they are trying (fairy light trees) and will approach council with costs after a trial.
Motion by Morrow, seconded by Landuyt to adjourn the meeting. On roll call vote, all voted aye. The meeting adjourned at 8:57 p.m.
Dave Fish, Mayor
Attest: Sandra Walton, City Clerk
Transcribed by the City Clerk subject to Council approval