City council okays raises, mulls mandatory water connections

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By Shelia Tomkins

The Guttenberg city council, meeting in regular monthly session on May 4, granted raises to non-union employees, acted on mandatory water connections and decided to sell a parcel of city property. 

Mayor Russ Loven led councilmembers Virginia Saeugling, Fred Schaub, Dave Schlueter, Jane Parker and Steve Friedlein through the agenda. City Manager Mary Willett and City Attorney Michael Schuster were also present.

RV Park easement request

Realtor Gary Willman, representing Gene and Cheryl Gustin, sellers of the Guttenberg RV Park, spoke to the council about city property adjoining the park for which the current owners have a temporary encroachment permit. Willman asked for a permanent easement or other solution in light of the pending sale of the property. The city manager suggested the possibility of selling the city property. After discussion, the council unanimously voted to offer it for sale. 

Mandatory water connections

At its April meeting, the council passed a resolution to enforce mandatory water and sewer connections to city lines. The city manager noted that approximately 100 properties in Guttenberg are not connected at this time. The city attorney is reviewing the ordinance that would address those issues. In the meantime the city is requiring that the code be enforced when property changes hands.  At Monday's meeting, the council passed an ordinance requiring enforcement of the resolution for the Martin and Barb Walter property but tabled the vote in the matter of the sale of the Sid and Sharon Sickles property. Sid Sickles was in attendance, along with the prospective buyer, with questions about the cost and feasibility of bringing water to his property, which would require boring through rock. The city manager said the public works employees are gathering information at this time and the council agreed to table the matter. 

Employee raises

The council approved raises of 50-cents per hour for two non-union employees — the assistant city manager and the public works director. The raise was commensurate with that received by union employees.

The mayor recommended a 4% salary increase for the police chief. Following discussion on hourly wage increases versus percent package increases, the council approved the mayor's recommendation.   

The mayor suggested that the city manager's contract be changed to a fiscal year basis rather than the calendar year. It was the council's consensus to have the city attorney proceed on the matter. 

Other business

A public hearing was set for Tuesday, May 26, at 6:00 p.m. to consider an amendment to this year's budget.

The council tabled action on a public hearing regarding a tobacco sales violation by Pronto Market, pending further review by the city attorney. The hearing was a means to capture fine money for city coffers.

In a consent agenda vote, the council approved the Stars and Stripes parade route (same as last year) and okayed the donation of a family pool pass for the event.

Renewal of health insurance coverage for city employees by Medical Associates Health Plan was approved.

A request was okayed from the Rastetter/Berns family to close the alley in the 400 block between South Second and Third Streets for a graduation party.

In his monthly report, Police Chief George Morteo noted that Officer Zack Lacey was scheduled to graduate from Hawkeye Community College. The chief also said that nine golf cart permits have been issued to date.

City Manager Mary Willett commented on her written monthly report to the council which included meetings she attended, the sale of unused city equipment which brought approximately $7000, a refund from Alliant Energy, riverfront leases, water main work, garbage contract renewal, and bids for pool repair. She said work on addressing nuisance properties is in progress.

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