Belle Plaine, Iowa
February 1, 2023
The Belle Plaine City Council met on February 1, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers with Mayor Dave Fish presiding. Present: Judy Schlesselman, Garrett Landuyt, Mary Pech, Mitch Malcolm, 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 Pech, seconded by Landuyt to approve the Consent Agenda, Council Minutes of January 16, 2023, Council Minutes of January 18, 2023, receiving and filing of minutes from the January 24, 2023, Belle Plaine Community Library Board of Trustees meeting, and bills received. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.
Resident Comments: None.
Steve Gerdes of Faller, Kincheloe & Company PLC was present to go over the auditor’s report from FY22 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022). After pointing out highlights of the report, Mayor Fish asked him what kind of overall rating he would give our city’s finances. Gerdes stated he would give us a B or C rating. It would be higher except for the status of our water and sewer funds that continue to run very lean (although he did comment that they are both carrying a positive balance for the first time in years, which is progress).
Matt Pivit from Republic Services was at the meeting to present a proposal to renew our existing garbage and recycling contract. He presented two options: 1) the city pays the gate fees, just like we do now; 2) Republic pays the gate fees and the City pays a higher rate to cover that expense. Council Members will consider the new rates (which begin roughly 20% higher than our current rate and increase approximately 4.5% annually) and decide if they want to accept the proposal or send out an RFP to various companies. The decision will be made at the next council meeting.
The police report will be given at the next council meeting.
A request from Jamie Blasdell was received concerning the nuisance complaint on her property at 1410 6th Avenue, Belle Plaine, Iowa. She is requesting an 8-month extension to complete remediation of the property. Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Landuyt to give her until May 3rd; with immediate action needed to “button up” the property, provide a letter of intent regarding a mortgage, and show proof that she has received bids for the roof and foundation repairs. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried. She may return to the council meeting on May 3rd to show what progress has been made and request an additional extension if needed at that time. The City Administrator is to send her a certified letter informing her of the council’s decision.
Motion by Morrow, seconded by Malcolm approving renewal of the Class C alcohol license with Sunday sales & outdoor service of the Belle Plaine Country Club at 1911 13th Avenue, Belle Plaine, Iowa. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.
Motion by Landuyt, seconded by Schlesselman to approve Resolution #23-02-01; a resolution approving the transfer of funds for sewer heavy equipment & police equipment funds. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.
Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Landuyt to approve Resolution #23-02-02; a resolution approving and adopting a revenue purpose statement for the use or expenditure of revenue fees from electric and natural gas franchise fees. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.
Motion by Pech, seconded by Schlesselman to set the public hearing for Franchise Fees for 6:30 p.m. on 2/15/23 in the Belle Plaine City Council Chambers. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.
Motion by Morrow, seconded by Schlesselman to approve the reappointment of Leah Mast to the Variance Board. Her term will expire in January 2028. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.
Motion by Malcolm, seconded by Landuyt to approve the reappointment of Jerry (Skeeter) Blomme to the Variance Board. His term will expire in January 2028. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.
Motion by Pech, seconded by Landuyt to approve a one-time utility credit of $331.52 at 902 5th Avenue, Belle Plaine, Iowa for a busted water pipe which has since been fixed. On roll call vote, all voted aye, motion carried.
Committee of the Whole: Updates were given on all nuisance properties still in progress, including those in court, those being demolished, and those being rehabilitated. Council members are to forward a list of any additional properties that they would like the city to address next to Steve Beck. A compiled list will be brought back to the Council for consideration this spring.
Discussion on drones was delayed until the next council meeting.
Steve Beck, City Administrator, reported that the wellfield is holding steady. He also has all but one employee review completed; the last will be given next week. He has spent a great deal of time trying to wrap up FEMA projects. He has prepared two large reports given to FEMA and the Board of Appeals for Arbitration on the Roads project and the Culvert project that were previously denied. We hope to have a final ruling by the end of March. Other projects still in various stages are the Welcome Sign, Generator for the Wellfield, and the Minnow Creek project. FEMA has proved very difficult to deal with. Conversations have been held with Grassley’s office to over perceived issues.
Malcolm asked Beck what our next steps are with the water system. Beck mentioned next steps could include test wells (not good weather for that currently), correcting the recharge zone for our current wellfield, annexing the wellfield and sewer plant into the city limits, and hiring an engineer for the project.
Mayor Fish has asked Chad Straight from the Belle Plaine Community Schools to pick possible dates to meet regarding the old junior high property. Mayor Fish also reported on meetings recently attended.
Correspondence: A copy of the news release from our auditor was given to the Council.
Old Business: None
Resident Comments: Delbert Meeks inquired as to when the City would demolish the property at 1402 2nd Avenue. The mayor reported that it will be sometime in the next few months.
The council did not go into closed session as there are no updates on the WRH lawsuit.
Motion by Landuyt, seconded by Malcolm to adjourn the meeting. On roll call vote, all voted aye. The meeting was adjourned at 8:18 p.m.
Dave Fish, Mayor
Attest: Sandra Walton, City Clerk
Transcribed by the City Clerk subject to Council approval.