City council hears railroad webcam proposal

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By Shelia Tomkins

At the regular monthly meeting on July 11, the Guttenberg city council worked through a shorter than usual agenda that included project updates, discussion on a railroad webcam, and a change in the minimum age to operate a golf cart.

Mayor Fred Schaub led council members Mandy Ludovissy, Austin Greve, Jane Parker, Steve Bahls and Michelle Geuder through the evening's agenda. City Manager Denise Schneider was also at the council table. 

Railroad webcam

Thomas Hogan of Marion asked the council for permission to place a webcam along the railroad tracks at a city-owned location. Hogan publishes Steel Highway magazine and also operates Steel Highway Railcams You Tube channel. He currently live streams 15 cameras in towns similar to Guttenberg. He said it would be an opportunity to promote the community. The webcam requires access to power and internet. Sites discussed were the fire station and the city shop, the latter being the preferred site. After discussion it was the council's consensus to have the city manager prepare an agreement for next month's meeting.

Project updates

Steve Thompson, an engineer with Veenstra and Kimm, gave updates on water system improvements, storm sewer extension, and the Fifth Street overlay project. Design work continues on the Fifth Street project. A grant for the water project has been submitted and the city should know in September if the grant is successful. Construction permits and other approvals are pending for the water project. Discussion was held on possible options for matching funds for the $440,000 TAP grant the city received for trail improvements. 

Golf cart ordinance

Following up on discussion at last month's meeting, the council considered a change in the golf cart ordinance that would reduce the minimum age to operate in the city limits from 18 to 16. At Monday night's meeting, the first formal consideration of the ordinance passed on a 4-1 vote, with Greve voting against the change. The second of three readings of the proposed ordinance is scheduled for next month's meeting.  

Other business

The council voted to replenish the Business Accelerator Grant fund with $5,000. The council discussed setting conditions for grants. Requests for grants are handled through the Guttenberg Economic and Industrial Development Commisison. 

The council approved the wording and design for signs on the pillars that form the entrance to Schiller Street from Highway 52.

Blake Stannard of Elkader was hired to fill the electric assistant position that became open when Ryan Jaster was appointed as electrical superintendent. 

Upon recommendation of the Historic Preservation Commission, the council approved a contract with Spark Consulting of Cedar Rapids to develop design guidelines for the Front Street Historic District for an amount not to exceed $14,200.

The council voted to repair the boiler at the municipal building, accepting the proposal from WBC Mechanical of Waterloo at a cost of $20,332.   

The council asked the city manager to draft an addition to the zoning ordinance to be considered at next month's meeting that would address storage shipping containers.

The mayor reviewed a list of six nuisance properties and gave updates on conversations with the owners. 

The price to rent a jet ski slip at the municipal marina was decreased to $100-$125 per slip.

The council approved a request to waive mandatory connection to the city water main from Dr. Andrew and M.J. Smith and Chris and Deb Moser, who reside off Acre Street. They own property in which a water main is not within 100 feet of their homes and where possible bedrock would make installation of water service lines unduly expensive.  

Matt McLane gave an update to the council regarding an addition to his storage shed on  his property near the Eagles Club and Casey's and the status of a shed that was removed.

The council okayed a request for a pool pass for a benefit planned by the Clayton County Sexual Assault Response Team.

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