City council approves Bender property sale

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By Shelia Tomkins

The Guttenberg city council, meeting in regular session on Nov. 8, authorized the sale of property at the corner of Schiller Street and Highway 52, to Allen Rental Company, LLC, for $54,000. The action came on a 4-1 vote with councilmember Mick Pierce, who voted against the resolution, saying that he thought the price was "way too cheap."

In December of 2020 the city council voted to purchase the property for $70,000 in order to facilitate the Schiller Street project, rather than incur the expense of pursuing an easement.

In the discussion that followed prior to the vote, Nathan Trappe, owner of Allen Rental Co. and the lone bidder for the property, told the council he thought the city overpaid for the property. The city manager noted that the property had been on the market for enough time to allow other interested parties to come forward. 

Project updates

Steve Thompson, an engineer with Veenstra-Kimm, Inc., gave a brief update on current projects. He said the Schiller Street project is awaiting the delivery of lights and poles. The sewer extension project on Fifth Street has received a construction permit and can now proceed. The survey of proposed water system improvements has been completed and design work has started; an environmental review is ongoing and the city is awaiting DNR action. The Limbeck pond dredging continues to wait for a DNR decision as to whether grant funds can be used to purchase a dredge. 

Request for improvements

Residents Juanita Loven and Toni Boardman addressed the council to request improvements to some city-owned facilities. They asked for increased electrical capacity  and a water source in the third floor auditorium of the municipal building, and increased electrical capacity at the north gazebo and bandstand in Ingleside Park. After discussion, the council voted to make electrical improvements at all three sites, and to delay a decision on the water request.

Feeding wildlife

The council passed an amendment to the city's animal protection and control ordinance that prohibits the feeding of wild or stray animals, such as waterfowl, feral cats, squirrels,  deer, raccoons, chipmunks, etc. 

The feeding of songbirds and other backyard birds is still allowed under the ordinance, as the ordinance does not apply to "elevated bird/squirrel feeders providing seed, grain, fruit, worm or suet for birds or squirrels." 

The entire ordinance appears with the legal notices elsewhere in this issue.

Other business

Following a public hearing with no objections, the council authorized the sale of the Palmer property to Richard and Phoebe Johnson. 

The council moved forward with a request from Lakeside Ballroom to purchase small parcels of adjacent property at the price offered, $2,000.

Brandie Tomkins, director of the Guttenberg Chamber of Commerce, received council approval to again offer holiday lighting contest prizes in the form of credit on electric bills, in the same amounts as last year.

Jim Osterhaus discussed the feasibility of playing pickleball in the municipal building auditorium. Discussion was held on possible damage to lights.

Samantha Rumpf, Clayton County 911 coordinator, spoke to the council about the building on Acre Street that houses paging equipment for the hospital, fire department and EMS, saying it is in poor condition. Discussion on a solution will be held at the next 911 board meeting.

The council adopted a policy for dealing with surplus property, and also a form to be used for special event requests.

The council okayed a local match for a proposed hazard mitigation grant program to purchase generators for the flood control system.  Total project cost is estimated at $624,400 with a local match of up to $93,660.

Marina rates for the coming year will stay the same as last year. 

The council set a budget workshop for 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 6.

Routine reports were approved for urban renewal, street financing, and the annual financial report.

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