City council moves forward on Acre Street renovation project


By Shelia Tomkins

The Guttenberg city council at its regular meeting on Dec. 2 gave the green light to IIW Engineers to proceed with plans for the Acre Street renovation project set for 2014.

With bids for the  second phase of the city's federally-mandated levee accreditation program coming it at a lower-than-budgeted cost, it was noted that there would be room in the budget to  tackle the major Acre Street project. Jim Bousley of IIW Engineers asked the council for direction in drawing up plans. It was the council's consensus to go with a 26-ft. street width, and to seek bids for both asphalt and concrete surfaces.  Bids could be let for the project as early as February or March, said Bousley.

Mayor Russ Loven led the meeting with Assistant City Manager Julie Zittergruen and City Attorney Michael Schuster in attendance. It was the last regular monthly meeting for councilman Ralph Livingston, whose term expires at the end of the year. Filling out the table were council members Virginia Saeugling, Dave Schlueter, Jane Parker and Steve Friedlein.

Levee Accreditation

The council approved plans for the second phase of the levee accreditation project, and awarded the contract to the low bidder, Progressive Structures of Elkader, at $369,918.  Brad Mootz of IIW Engineers gave the council an overview of the problems that phase two will address.

Comprehensive plan

No one was present to comment at the public hearing prior to the adoption of the City of Guttenberg's Comprehensive Smart Plan. The final plan represents the results of input from residents gathered by a steering committee. Work on the plan began a year ago and was facilitated by Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission.   

"It's a good plan," said Mayor Loven. "I hope we can use it to guide us as we move ahead."

A copy of the plan can be found as a link on the city's website, 

Other business

The council okayed the sale of property at 418 South Second Street to Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation, a non-profit group, to promote affordable housing. The city had acquired the property as a gift from mortgage-lender Wells Fargo. 

The council proceeded with plans to vacate and sell part of an alley to Doug and Cindy Davey; final action will take place when a survey is completed.

Dennis and Julie Zittergruen asked to purchase part of Mozart Street adjacent to property they recently purchased. The city attorney recommended conveying the parcel via quit-claim deed. A public hearing on the matter was set for the regular council meeting in January. 

Waste Management, the city's contract waste hauler, has proposed an amendment to its contract that would change weekly yard waste collection to an every other week schedule, or twice monthly; if approved, Waste Management would forego an increase scheduled for 2014. The council took no action pending further discussion with Waste Management on the schedule and advertising the change.

Assistant City Manager gave an update  on the city's objection to  Alliant Energy's/IPL's facilities use charge. The city's consultant and attorney have filed a protest with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 

Gene Gustin asked the council for a longer term for his Guttenberg RV Park encroachment license; the council directed the city attorney to prepare paperwork that would provide for automatic renewal each year with a termination provision.

The council has received the a proposal from the city's union workers, the first step in contract negotiations. The city has two weeks to present a counter offer.

 Consent agenda

Items approved in one motion in the consent agenda included the following appointments:

•John Hartmann and Nancy McClellan to the Cable TV Commission

•Larry Borcherding and Pat Kuempel to the Cemetery Board

•Gary Goyette, Lee Johnston and Dorothy Wille to the Historical Preservation Commission

•Becky Knudtson to the Recreation Board

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