City council July meeting

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By Shelia Tomkins

At the Guttenberg city council regular monthly meeting on July 6, the council hired an engineering firm for the water main improvement project and discussed the current golf cart ordinance. Mayor Russ Loven led the evening's agenda with councilmembers Steve Friedlein, Jane Parker, Dave Schlueter, Fred Schaub and Virginia Saeugling in attendance, along with City Manager Mary Willett and City Attorney Michael Schuster.

Water main project

The city's 2015 water main project moved forward with the hiring of IIW Engineers for engineering work. Three firms submitted bids. It was noted that the project must move forward quickly in order to retain funding. 

The city has received $300,000 in grant funds, and is seeking ways to secure the remaining $150,000 needed for the project. The council okayed an application for USDA loan funds through the Clayton-Allamakee REC. No-interest loans are available if the application comes through a cooperative. The loan would be repaid through user fees and will not affect the city's borrowing capacity. The council also okayed the city manager exploring short-term financing with advice from Northland Securities. 

Golf cart ordinance

The council discussed the city's golf cart ordinance, an item placed on the agenda at the request of Paul and Patty Wachendorf, who were unable to be present. The Wachendorfs own PnP Cart Rentals, and the city manager said they were interested in having the ordinance amended to allow golf cart operation at night. 

Council members voiced concerns about golf cart activity they have seen recently, including what was described as  irresponsible behavior and lack of safety restraints for children. It was the council's consensus that safety would be compromised if the carts were allowed to operate at night. The City Attorney and Police Chief George Morteo will review the ordinance for ways to improve safety.

Other business

No comments were made at the public hearing proposing the sale of city property near the Guttenberg RV Park. The parcel has been surveyed and appraised. Owner Gene Gustin was present and said he believed the appraisal was not accurate (3360 square feet for $6720) and that he was unwilling to pay that much. The council agreed to have the mayor and city manager negotiate with Gustin prior to the next regular meeting.

Eric Van Horn was approved as a Guttenberg reserve police officer. Police Chief George Morteo told the council Van Horn has had experience with the MarMac and Monona departments. 

Acre Street resident Janice Andregg urged the council to adopt an ordinance that provides for an effective way to deal with unsightly or nuisance properties. She cited a property located at the intersection of Highway 52 and Acre Street. She said the property in question negatively impacts the business at the Eagle View Motel, which she described as a well-maintained business. 

Resident Terry Thein spoke about safety concerns for left-turning traffic coming down the north Guttenberg hill, and proposed painting traffic control lines at the intersection with Hadyn Street.

Jeff Dolan was appointed to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. 

The council okayed the closing the 400 and 500 blocks of South River Park Drive for two hours on July 11 for the Combat Vet's benefit motorcycle ride, and Moxie's received approval for outdoor service for the event.

An ordinance was approved that resolved ambiguities in city code regarding the concept of consolidated lots. 

The council approved a resolution to expand the scope of easement work in the area of the Sunset Lift Station. 

A terrorism exclusion to the city's insurance coverage, which had previously been waived, was okayed by the council. 

Jim Zerbe, marina manager, reported that WiFi has been installed, discussed securing shower doors, parking problems at the turn-around and said that water depth in the marina seems to be okay. 

Chief Morteo told the council he would like to confer with the City Attorney about updating the city's dog bite ordinance.

The City Manager in her monthly report said she has contacted waste haulers seeking bids. She reported on meetings with the hospital board discussing financial matters including critical access hospital reimbursements. 

The council went into closed session in order to discuss strategy with the city attorney. No action was taken following the return to open session. 

Due to equipment problems, there was no live airing of the council meeting on Cable Channel 6.

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