Council acts on ATV/UTV resolution, amends open burning ordinance

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By Shelia Tomkins

The Guttenberg city council at its regular monthly meeting on Oct. 2 approved the operation of ATVs and UTVs in the city limits with restrictions, heard a presentation from a wholesale power provider seeking a partnership with the city, authorized an increase in council and mayoral compensation and made changes to the city's open burning laws.

Mayor Russ Loven, City Manager Denise Schneider, City Attorney Michael Schuster, and councilmembers Austin Greve, Fred Schaub, Virginia Saeugling, Jane Parker and Steve Friedlein were on hand for the meeting.

UTV, ATV resolution

Following discussion at last month's council meeting, the City Attorney and Police Chief George Morteo drafted a resolution that specifies restrictions for the operation of ATVs and UTVs in the city. 

At last month's meeting, the council approved an ordinance that permits the operation of those vehicles in the city; the resolution  passed by the council Monday evening provides restrictions within the framework of that ordinance.

The resolution forbids anyone under the age of 18 to operate those vehicles; restricts the hours of operation between a half hour after sunrise to midnight; requires the use of headlights and taillights; limits the number of occupants to the manufactured seats on the vehicle; authorizes the operation of those vehicles on all city streets, but only permits operation in an alley to access the vehicle owner's residence. 

The resolution passed on a 3-2 vote with Saeugling and Friedlein voting against it.

Wholesale power contract

Representatives from Allamakee-Clayton REC and Dairyland Power Cooperative spoke to the council about the services that their companies can jointly provide to the city.

The city currently has a contract with Alliant Energy which expires in 2018. The City of Guttenberg purchases power from wholesale sources for municipal resale.

Allamakee-Clayton REC and Dairyland Power officials explained the relationship between their firms and the scope of their services, and expressed the hope that a partnership can be developed for a mutually beneficial service agreement.

A formal proposal will be presented at an upcoming council meeting.

Compensation increase

Acting on a recommendation from the mayor at last month's meeting, the council unanimously approved increases in compensation for the mayor and council positions.

The mayor's compensation will increase from $2,500 to $5,000 annually. Council compensation will go from $25 per meeting to $40 per council meeting. The figures were arrived at after reviewing and averaging the compensation rates in other  Iowa communities. 

Iowa code says that a change in compensation cannot become effective during the term in which the change is adopted, and can't be adopted during November and December in the year of a regular city election. 

Open burning

The council unanimously approved some changes to the city's open burning ordinance. Prior to the vote, the mayor cited problems caused by open burning for those with health issues such as asthma, COPD and allergies. The changes include:

Burning of landscape waste is limited to areas at least one-fourth a mile away from any building inhabited by other than the owner or tenant. Rubber tires can't be used to ignite landscape waste.

Recreational fires (for cooking, heating, ceremonies, etc.) can contain no materials other than wood or charcoal. The fires must be contained in a fire ring or pit not more than four feet in diameter or four feet square. The fire must not be closer than 15 feet from any house or building. Recreational fires must  not be left unattended. 

Other business

The council formally approved the contract between the city and Victoria Reed, the artist who is creating a fish sculpture for the downtown area.

The city manager reported that no bids were received on the municipal building renovation project, leaving the council to consider other options such as having the architect hire subcontractors (at an additional fee), or having the city staff handle it.

The council voted to retain Iowa Codification at a cost of $1,600 to incorporate the city's zoning ordinance into the Guttenberg code of ordinances.

Andy Kelleher, a candidate for the Iowa House of Representatives, introduced himself to the council.

City union employees asked the council to go on record opposing a proposed legislative change that would severely restrict collective bargaining procedures. The matter was tabled pending input from the Iowa League of Cities.

The Police Chief reported on repairs to one of the squad cars. Councilmember Parker commented that she was pleased to see curfew violations being written up. 

The mayor presented a proclamation to The Guttenberg Press in recognition of National Newspaper Week (see story page 4). 

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