The regular meeting of the Lowden City Council was called to order by Mayor Barry Hoffmeier.  Council members present on roll call:  Conrad, Olsen, Behrens, Helmold.  Absent:  McCreight.  Visitors:  Kirk Steinke, Derrick Lange, Pat Kroemer, Aaron Horman, Janis Krafock, Jane Drewelow, Donna Meier, Bonnie Kintzel, Steve Noack, Ed Brinton, Bill Norton, Jan Olsen, Joey Wenndt.

M/S Helmold, Olsen to approve the consent agenda including 2/3/13 minutes, bills, and financial reports.  Ayes:  All.

M/S Olsen, Behrens to close the meeting and open the Public Hearing on the FY14 budget.  Ayes:  All.

There being no oral or written comments on the FY14 proposed budget, M/S Conrad,
Helmold to close the Public Hearing and open the council meeting.  Ayes:  All.

M/S Behrens, Helmold to adopt the FY14 budget.  Ayes:  All.

Aaron Horman, Lowden Park Board, told the council the North Cedar Community School District approved a new agreement for leasing the ball diamonds at the Park for the next 10 years beginning 9/16/2013 through 9/15/2023 at $1.00/per year.  Some of the terms of the new agreement are as follows: the school will be responsible for the cost of turf treatment and weed control, lime, mowing the diamonds with their own equipment, repair/maintenance of ball diamond lights and scoreboards, and operating the concession stands.  

M/S Behrens, Olsen to approve the Ball Park lease/shared facilities agreement between the City of Lowden and the North Cedar Community School District. Ayes: All.

M/S Olsen, Conrad to approve the Park summer positions as recommended by Lowden Park Board – Sadie Holst: food stand manager-$2500. to be paid from Park account, Kip Esbaum: lawn mowing-$3900. to be paid from City budget, Kip Esbaum: restroom open/close and cleaning-$500.00 to be paid from City budget, Forever Green: ball diamond turf treatment-$838.00.  Ayes:  All.

A new policy concerning Park shelter rentals is the shelter keys will have to be picked up and returned to City Hall.  A caretaker will not be hired to do this.  City Clerk will send letters to people that have made reservations informing them of the new policy.

M/S Conrad, Behrens to allow a vacation day carryover of 5 days per year with the 5 days not to be accumulated beyond the one year extension.  Ayes:  All.

Mayor Hoffmeier appointed council members McCreight and Helmold to the sewer project committee as well as Kirk Steinke and the Mayor.

Jan Olsen, Lowden Commercial Club, addressed the council with concerns about the City’s nuisance ordinance not being enforced and the poor condition of streets with potholes in Lowden.   Council member Behrens said he recently had a problem with a nuisance property in his neighborhood with no satisfactory resolution by the City.  He appreciated the Commercial Club’s concern about seriously addressing nuisance properties.    Joey Wenndt, who works part-time for the city of Mechanicsville as a police officer, said letters are sent or delivered to nuisance properties in that town and if they do not abate the nuisance, they are taken to court.  Mayor asked the Lowden Commercial Club to compile a list of properties violating the City’s nuisance ordinance and bring to the council.

Jan Olsen also asked if the City could help put up the Christmas wreaths on the light poles and help pay for repairs to Christmas lights.  There is a Christmas Decorations fund drive but they want to use those funds for purchasing new decorations.   Mayor Hoffmeier said the council would consider their requests.

M/S Conrad, Helmold to implement automatic bill payments through the bank for utility customers in Lowden.   Ayes:  All.   There will be a small monthly fee for the City to utilize this, but the customers will not be assessed an additional cost. 

No further information was presented for repairing the trickling filter at the wastewater plant.   This will be added to the April meeting agenda.

Kirk Steinke presented current garbage rate information and classifications for commercial businesses in regard to dumpster size and charges.  This will be reviewed and discussed at the April meeting.

M/S Helmold, Olsen to approve Resolution #13-01 approving the plat of the Fox Addition at 2324 Highway 30 whereby Lot 1 is rezoned from Commercial 1 to Residential 1.  Ayes:  All.

M/S Helmold, Behrens to have the first reading of Ordinance #799 rezoning Lot 1 at 2324 Highway 30 from Commercial 1 to Residential 1.  Ayes:  All.

Council discussed a water main replacement project on McKinley Avenue from Main St. to 8th St.  Kirk obtained a quote for materials for that project.  However, if the project is over $48,000 the City must go out for competitive quotes.   Council will discuss this further at the April meeting.

Engineers Steve Noack and Ed Brinton were present to discuss the proposed wastewater plant project.  If the City chooses to go forward, they need to get on the Intended Use Plan with the DNR to apply for a planning/design loan (State Revolving Fund), work on a CDBG application, and have a topographic survey done.   The engineering costs for this phase would be $40,000.

After discussion, M/S Conrad, Helmold to approve the professional services agreement with MMS Consultants for preparing a facility plan, assistance with obtaining financing, and the topographic survey at the wastewater plant.  Ayes:  All.

Mayor told the council he has been questioned by a homeowner on McKinley Avenue about a letter the City sent to install a separate sewer service line to their house.  Several homes on McKinley Avenue share a service line with an adjacent house.  Mayor Hoffmeier said those houses have shared a line for 50-60 yrs.  If there is a problem in the future, that would be the time for the homeowners to install separate lines at their expense, rather than requiring it now.   Council agreed a letter can be sent indicating the City is reconsidering the issue and will discuss it at the April meeting. 

M/S Olsen, Helmold to approve building permits for Galen Conrad-machine shed and Wesley Fox-storage units.  Ayes: All.

Mayor told the council the Cedar County Sheriff’s contract amount for FY14 will be $33,100, a 3% increase from the previous year.

Council will discuss at the April meeting, North Cedar School’s request to install flip stop signs near the elementary school.

M/S Helmold, Olsen to adjourn at 7:21 PM.   Ayes:  All.

Next regular meeting is April 1, 2013, 5:30 PM.

Barry Hoffmeier, Mayor
Peggy Kedley, City Clerk

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