The regular meeting of the Lowden City Council was called to order by Mayor Barry Hoffmeier.   Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Council members present on roll call:  Conrad, McCreight, Behrens, Helmold.  Absent:  Olsen. 

Visitors:  Kirk Steinke, Austin Lange, Gene Hamdorf, Nick Lange, Derrick Lange, Mark Fox, Doug Deerberg, Bill Norton, Pat Kroemer, Kevin Hartwig, Aaron Horman, Wes Griesbach, Louis Licht.

M/S McCreight, Behrens to approve the consent agenda for the 2-6-12 minutes, bills, and financial report, with the following clarification on the minutes:  the 2% wage increase being reconsidered was approved at the 1-16-12 budget meeting.  Ayes:  All.

M/S McCreight, Helmold to close the council meeting and open the Public Hearing on the FY13 budget.  Ayes:  All.

No oral or written comments were made on the FY13 budget.

M/S McCreight, Conrad to close the Public Hearing and open the council meeting.  Ayes:  All.

M/S Helmold, Behrens to adopt the FY13 budget as published.  Ayes:  All.

Council discussed the proposed real estate agreement to purchase 40 acres of land from the Warren E. Bowstead Trust for future housing development.  The area is east and north of the Schwarz Development on 5th St. Place.  Mayor Hoffmeier explained several of the terms as proposed on the real estate offer from the Bowstead Trust.   The City could purchase 40 acres of land at $10,000/acre with a 30-year contract at 5% interest. There would be a 5-year lease to Lee and Shellah Dexter for $300/acre to farm the land.   

Letters were presented from LEDCO and Lowden Commercial Club supporting the City’s proposed acquisition of the land purchase for housing development.

Austin Lange presented a petition with 47 signatures opposing the land purchase.  He felt the City should be spending their money on sewer, water, and street improvements. Austin wanted to see the issue put to the vote of  the public.

Mark Fox, a member of LEDCO, said he is opposed to the land purchase agreement.
He said the economy is not good for development of property at this time and the City cannot afford to do so. The City is already making monthly loan payments to USDA for Little Home Day Care Center.  He stated the City is not a bank and shouldn’t be financing the purchase, 40 acres is too much to purchase, and asked who would develop the land.

Councilman Conrad asked Bill Norton if the land could be purchased in phases, perhaps 10 acres to begin with.  Bill Norton said no. 

Motioned by Conrad to put the 40-acre land purchase issue to a vote of the public.
No second.  Motion failed.

M/S Behrens, Helmold to not approve the 40-acre land purchase agreement from Warren E. Bowstead Trust.  Ayes: All.

M/S McCreight, Helmold to accept Lowden Park Board’s recommendations, as presented by Aaron Horman, for summer positions as follows:  food stand manager-Sadie Holst-$1700, park lawn mowing-Kip Esbaum-$4000, park shelter/restroom cleaning-Blake Proesch-$950, SB/BB diamond lawn treatment-Forever Green-$1044.  Ayes:  Behrens, Helmold, McCreight.  Nays:  Conrad.

Other bids for lawn mowing were Michael Scheer-$4000, Kyle Fitzgerald-$4250, and Nick Lange-$4500.  Other bids for shelter cleaning were Emily Scheer/Lisa Decker-$950, Nick Lange-$950 and for SB/BB diamond lawn treatment-All-Star Turf $720.

M/S McCreight, Behrens to approve the Park Board’s policy for gifts to Lowden Memorial Park relative to benches, plantings, etc.  Ayes:  All.

Horman told the council Park Day will be June 30 this year.

Louis Licht was present to explain the results of his recent testing with his test trees at Lowden’s wastewater facility. He said all ammonia was removed and a high percentage of E.coli.  This type of phyto (plant) treatment can greatly reduce contaminants in water and soil.  20 acres of additional land would be needed to implement a treatment system of this type in Lowden.   Council thanked Licht for the information he presented.

MMS Consultants presented a professional services agreement for anticipated sewer line repairs of $400,000 at a consultant fee of $22,500.   Council could decide to just repair certain areas of sewer lines with consultant fees based time/material basis.   MMS will be asked to prioritize needed sewer line and storm sewer repairs so the Council has a better idea of what needs to be done first.   In regard to the proposed new wastewater plant facility, Councilman McCreight thinks the new plant should be designed to handle 150,000 gallons of flow rather than the proposed 600,000 gallons a day.

M/S McCreight, Conrad to appoint John Ibsen to the Lowden Cemetery Board.  Ayes:  All. 

M/S McCreight, Helmold to implement a policy to charge for pickup of bulk items for garbage.  Ayes:  All.  Charges would be $5 for a chair, table, or mattress and $15 for a pickup load of garbage.  Charges will be at the Public Works employees’ disgression and will be added to the regular water bills.

M/S Conrad, Behrens for the City Council to waive the right to review the plat of Licht’s First Addition to Cedar County.  Ayes:  All.

M/S Conrad, McCreight to approve a liquor license for Good Times, pending dram shop insurance, and approve a wine permit for Two Friends Gifts & Flowers.  Ayes: All.

Kirk Steinke reported the water tower was cleaned and inspected on March 12 and only a small crack was detected and repaired.   Council directed Steinke to get some cold mix to repair some of the worst potholes in streets.

City Attorney will be contacted to address damages to Jefferson Avenue last fall by farm semis. The City’s insurance does not cover the damages.  A bill in the amount of $11863.50 for damages was sent and has not been paid.

City Attorney will send another letter to Rodney Lange to comply with the City’s building permit ordinance by April 1 or contempt of court proceedings will begin.

M/S Helmold, McCreight to adjourn at 7:20 PM.  Ayes:  All.

Next regular meeting is April 2, 2012, 5:30 PM..        

Barry Hoffmeier, Mayor
Peggy Kedley, City Clerk

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