Council gives green light to fire vehicle purchase


By Shelia Tomkins

The Guttenberg city council moved forward with plans to purchase a new vehicle for the Guttenberg Fire Department when it met in regular session on Nov. 5.

Mayor Russ Loven presided with council members Virginia Saeugling, Ralph Livingston, Dave Schlueter, Jane Parker and Steve Friedlein in attendance.  Assistant  City Manager Julie Zittergruen and City Attorney Mike Schuster were also at the council table.

Representatives from the fire department have been in attendance at previous council meetings to discuss the need for a new vehicle. At the October meeting, GFD representatives estimated the approximate cost of a pumper/tanker at $377,000, and the matter was tabled pending review of financing options. The GFD Association has $30,000 toward the purchase. 

At Monday's meeting, discussion continued on financing, and the council set a maximum of $350,000 towards the purchase. A final decision on the means of financing will be made after the city  determines  costs for another major project, levee accreditation.

City manager search

Consultant Pat Callahan gave an update on the search for a new city manager. Applications have been reviewed and the field narrowed to four. The finalists will visit Guttenberg on Nov. 15-16 for further interviews and a tour of the community. The public is invited to meet the finalists at a reception on Friday, Nov. 15, from 5:00-6:00 p.m. at the municipal building. Final interviews will be held on Saturday and if the council agrees on a candidate and compensation terms,  a special meeting will be set to finalize the hire.

Other business

The council approved borrowing $161,300 to finance a street sweeper.

Upon recommendation of the Guttenberg Economic and Industrial Development Commission, the council approved a $20,000 loan to the Creativity Center. GEIDC director Mary Beth Theis  and Cindy Olson addressed the council. Plans call for using the funds to open a cafe and hire a part-time employee.

  Wells Fargo has donated a real estate lot to the city, and the city is proposing to donate it to Northeast Iowa Community Action. A public hearing on the transfer will be held at the regular December meeting.

Another public meeting was set for the same date, regarding a property exchange between the city and Doug and Cindy Davey.

Assistant City Manager Julie Zittergruen gave an update on Recreation Board's fund-raising plans for the city pool renovation.

A public hearing on Guttenberg's new comprehensive plan was set for the next regular council meeting on Dec. 2. (See story in this issue). A public hearing is required before final adoption of the plan.

The council discussed estimates for an extension at the south boat ramp to accommodate larger boats during times of low water.  Livingston suggested using a sign as a temporary fix.

Officer Kari Hoyheim gave the monthly police report in the absence of Chief George Morteo. She expressed appreciation to Kann Mfg. and Sheryl Bahls for a sign that seems to be helping with the problem of engine brakes on the north hill. 

Resident Barb Pape addressed the council about a nuisance property, motel progress and on the selection of a new city manager.

Consent agenda 

The council approved consent agenda items in one motion, including routine reports and pay requests for city projects. A major payment to Connolly Construction for the sewer improvement project was okayed for $220,550, along with a change order increase of $72,166.  

Approval was given for $300 in prizes for the annual Christmas holiday decorating contest, to be given in the form of electric bill credits. 

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