Council Meeting Minutes 5-15-2023


May 15, 2023

     The City Council of the City of Fayette, Iowa, met Monday, May 15, 2023, at 6:00 pm in the Community Room at the Fayette Community Library pursuant to law and rules of said council, Mayor Wood presiding. The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance.

     Roll call: Present - Council members Post, Potratz and Scott; Absent - Tucker. One council vacancy.

     Moved Potratz, seconded Post, to approve the consent agenda items consisting of the regular meeting minutes of 5/1/23 and the claims list of 4/29/23-5/12/23. Roll call, all ayes, motion carried.

     Citizen Comments: Tim O'Brien, a Westfield Township Trustee and from Fayette County, asked where the city was at with appointing a Fire Chief. O'Brien advised he is aware the North Fayette Valley school board has offered the Fayette Elementary school to the city of Fayette. He recommended having the school board tear down the gym before the city accepts the donation. O'Brien was advised the appointment of the Fire Chief was on the current agenda and the Fayette city council will be having a public forum for people to voice their opinions about the Fayette Elementary school in the near future.

     Scott Bowen from Fayette advised at the last council meeting several concerns were brought up and need to be addressed immediately. Bowen advised city council members are interfering with police business and that is against the law. He recommended an investigation be conducted and the Mayor needs to back the police department. Any council members interfering should resign immediately.

     Joseph Horstman from Fayette voiced his concerns on the growing problem of college students causing issues in Fayette. Susan and him have filed several complaints with the police. They had windows shot out by BB guns at two of their homes and nothing was done. Horstman feels like there is some influence from the city council on the police department. Horstman filed other complaints with the Fayette police department and the Fayette County sheriff's office involving his prior employer, Big Rock Country Club, and nothing was done. Horstman concluded by stating he is not in support of the council appointing Nancy Wulfekuhle to the city council.

     Brenda Hildebrand from Fayette inquired why the council has not been more progressive with getting more businesses, including a convenient store, to the city of Fayette. Hildebrand advised she has not seen any grants get awarded to Fayette recently. Hildebrand was advised that some council members have reached out to new businesses and it is a tough process. The city has applied for grants but have not been awarded any.

     Nancy Wulfekuhle from Fayette advised that maybe the city can focus more on some Main Street Iowa grants and hopefully the new Fayette Chamber can assist.

     Adrianna Ruroden of Fayette advised her and her husband were at the last council meeting explaining their problems with the college students including them running through their property and blasting music in their windows. Ruroden advised they have reported the issues multiple times to the police and inquired if the students received warnings, fines or how were the issues handled. Mayor Wood will follow up with her questions. The council members advised they do not interfere with any complaints made to the police and have not denied any training or equipment the police department has requested.

     Moved Post, seconded Potratz, to approve the agenda as presented. All ayes, motion carried.

     Mayor Wood advised those in attendance that their concerns raised at the meeting are acknowledged by the city administration. The Mayor, Fayette Police Chief and the City Administrator will work on better communication with the Upper Iowa University (UIU). Police Chief Davis will be speaking with UIU to set the stage for a successful 2023-2024 school year. The Mayor will have Chief Davis respond to the residents still having some concerns and issues. Wood spoke about National Police Week and his support of the Fayette Police Department.

     Moved Scott, seconded Potratz, to appoint Roger Post to the Fayette Ambulance Chief for 2023. All ayes, motion carried.

     The council advised the Fayette Fire Department had a few opportunities made available for them to recommend a Fire Chief to the council as they were advised and they have chosen not to. The council will move forward at the next council meeting by having the Mayor recommend a Fayette Fire Chief for 2023. Moved Potratz, seconded Scott, to have the Mayor move forward to appointing a Fayette Fire Chief at the next city council meeting. All ayes, motion carried.

     Moved Post, seconded Scott, to table the request until further information is obtained on appointing James Hanson to the Fayette Fire Department. All ayes, motion carried.

     City Administrator/Clerk McGrane advised the council the city does not have to sign any contracts for the new FirstNet cell phones for the police and public works departments. McGrane will have Chief Davis continue the process to switch over to FirstNet. McGrane is waiting for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to return his messages on further confirmation on the removal of the two condemned homes. McGrane is still working on the cell tower agreement with American Tower and Tower Genius. He will hopefully have an update at the next council meeting. McGrane has also continued to work on the process of selling of the Homes for Iowa home, working on records requests for the public, working with a business on renting 9 S. Main Street, met with a garbage carrier on 5/11 with Mayor Wood and they will presenting that information at a future meeting, attended the bid opening on 5/11 for the Volga Trail project and continued to gather information for the council and advised the Fayette Ambulance Service will be celebrating their 50th anniversary on Wednesday, 6/24 with an open house from 5:30-8PM at the ambulance garage.

     Fayette Police Chief Davis sent out a written email report to the council.

     Fayette Public Works Director Hildebrand informed the council he is waiting for parts to transfer the other water well over to the liquid chlorination system.

     This being the time and place posted for a public hearing on the proposed contract documents and estimated costs for improvements for the Fayette-Volga River Multi-Use Trail Surfacing, Mayor Wood opened the hearing and asked for comments. The city has not received any written comments. Brenda Hildebrand from Fayette inquired if the city will have funds to complete the trail and asked how it will benefit the city of Fayette. McGrane provided a few options on how the city could fund the project, including using Hotel-Motel tax funds and Local Option Sales Tax funds. Scott Bowen from Fayette advised the city has had to finish and pick-up the slack from Upper Iowa University multiple times and he does not feel the city should complete this project that was supposed to be completed by them. Jason Rohde from Fayette County inquired if the original agreement to complete the trail was reviewed and if it states that UIU is responsible for the trail. Rod Marlatt, Director of Fayette County Conservation (FCC), addressed the council and citizens by stating the trail was supposed to be completed a decade ago and it has not happened. The FCC has been taking care of the maintenance and upkeep of the trail, including mowing and trimming, since the trail was constructed. Marlatt advised if the trail is not going to be completed, the FCC will discontinue the maintenance and upkeep. There being no further comments, Wood closed the hearing.

     Jon Biederman with Fehr Graham Engineering advised that on 5/11/23, five (5) bids were opened and read and prices for both alternatives were excellent. The opinion of probable cost and bid totals were as follows (Base Bid and Alternate 1 is for PCC = Alt1; Base Bid and Alternate 2 is for Asphalt = Alt2): Engineer's Estimate $274,838 (Alt1), $234,743 (Alt2); Bacon Concrete LLC $246,381.70 (Alt1), $211,067.70 (Alt2); Wicks Construction, Inc. $248,366 (Alt1), No Bid for Alt2; Shift Companies $269,625 (Alt1), $260,013 (Alt2); Midwest Concrete, Inc. $228,211.71 (Alt1), $233,844.95 (Alt2); Rausch Construction, Inc. $267,494 (Alt1); $266,364 (Alt2). Fehr Graham recommended the city award the Base Bid and Alternate 1 (PCC) to the low bid, Midwest Concrete, Inc. of Peosta, Iowa, with a cost of $228,211.71. McGrane updated the council on the grants that were recommended he look into as well as other grants he researched for this project. McGrane could not find any that this project would qualify for because they have either already been awarded for the first part of the trail and we were unable to apply again, or the project did not meet the necessary requirements. Post recommended the city communicate with the Fayette County Department of Natural Resources to find out if we can work something out with them on taking over the trail as it is now. Post advised another option is to use crushed limestone to complete the trail as other communities have done to make the project less expensive. Potratz agreed with Post and feels this is quite a bit of money to finish the trail. Public Works Director Hildebrand recommended we repair what needs fixed on the trail and then maybe the county would be willing to accept the trail as it is. Hildebrand advised if the Fayette Public Works department had to maintain the existing trail, it would only take 15 minutes each time.

     Moved Post, seconded Potratz, to not approve completing the paving of the recreation trail to the Volga River Recreation Park. All ayes, motion carried.

     This being the time and place posted for a public hearing to sell 207 Alexander Street, Fayette, Iowa (the Homes for Iowa Home), Mayor Wood opened the hearing and asked for comments. Rick Hofmeyer from Fayette asked how much the city would be selling the home and property for and was advised the asking price of $130,000. Nancy Wulfekuhle from Fayette inquired if the buyers met the low-income requirements and was advised the buyers do. Wood closed the hearing.

     Moved Potratz, seconded Post, to approve Resolution 2023-32, directing the sale of the city's interest in 207 Alexander Street, Fayette, Fayette County, Iowa (the Homes for Iowa home). Roll call, all ayes, motion carried.

     The council advised they are not interested in reconsidering the options of painting the water tower that Mayor Wood has recommended.

     Moved Post, seconded Potratz, to accept and acknowledge receiving the Fayette Ambulance Service meeting minutes from 4/5/23, the Fayette Fire Department meeting minutes from 5/2/23, and to table the Fayette Safety meeting minutes. All ayes, motion carried.

     Rick Hofmeyer and other representatives with the Fayette Ambulance Service Incorporation (FASI) addressed the council and requested the Miller Trust money that was donated be turned over to the FASI. They advised the Miller Trust trustees donated the money to the Fayette Ambulance Service and not to the city of Fayette. The recent Resolution passed by the council has earmarked the funds for the Fayette Ambulance Service and at any time the city council can vote to change the use of the funds. By the city turning the funds over to the FASI, it would ensure the funds are spent properly. Hofmeyer read some of the by-laws of the FASI. The service is concerned that the city could change how the interest earned from the funds could be used in the future. The members of the FASI advised they received around $3,500 at their last fundraising event. McGrane explained the city's auditor and attorney advised the funds were to be deposited into the city's account and not in the FASI account because of the wording on the court documents. McGrane briefly explained how the city funds work for the ambulance service and that any extra funds the ambulance receives are transferred into the city ambulances savings account for future purchases. McGrane advised he has communicated with the Iowa League of Cities and attended a Fayette Ambulance Service meeting to explain what steps could be taken for the city to possibly turn the donated money over to the FASI. The FASI provided McGrane with an updated copy of their by-laws and McGrane will communicate with the city attorney. No formal action was taken.

     Moved Potratz, seconded Scott, to extend the regular council meeting beyond the 2-hour time limit until all agenda items are completed. All ayes, motion carried.

     Moved Potratz, seconded Scott, to approve Resolution 2023-33, adopting the job description for the part-time Public Works Technician. Roll call, all ayes, motion carried.

     Moved Potratz, seconded Post, to hire Gerald Hildebrand at $20.00 per hour as a part-time, seasonal, Public Works Technician employee. All ayes, motion carried.

     Moved Potratz, seconded Scott, to go into closed session per Iowa Code 21.5(1)(j) to discuss the purchase or sale of particular real estate only where premature disclosure could be reasonably expected to increase the price the City would have to pay for that property or reduce the price the City would receive that property. Roll call, all ayes, motion carried.

     Moved Post, seconded Potratz, to open regular session. Roll call, all ayes, motion carried.

     Moved Potratz, seconded Post, to direct the City Administrator to move forward with the proposed action discussed in closed session. All ayes, motion carried.

    There being no further business, Wood declared the meeting adjourned at 8:28 pm.

There is no place like home. And there is no place like Fayette.

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