McGregor dock regulation ordinance up for consideration
By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor
A dock regulation ordinance was drawn up and presented to the McGregor City Council for consideration March 10. Attorney Mike Schuster has worked on creating the ordinance for several months, piecing it together from other municipalities’ ordinances. The city wanted an ordinance that would give it, and thus the dock commission, the authority to regulate the docks in order to make sure they are safe and presentable.
The ordinance authorizes the dock owner to “obtain a dock permit or other authorizations as may be required from by government agencies other than the city.” That includes the Iowa DNR and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The permit must then be filed with the city clerk, along with the dock owner’s name and mailing address, before placing the dock on the riverfront.
·Each dock must conform to the DNR’s standard requirements, but McGregor also made some additional regulations, including:
·Each owner must display the permit number issued pursuant to the authorization process.
·All docks must be securely anchored in order to prevent them from becoming a floating hazard. The owner will be responsible for retrieving and removing the dock, if necessary.
·The dock owner will have to maintain the dock decking, keeping it free of cracks, holes and unevenness, so that it is not a safety hazard.
·All boardwalk deck materials will have to be affixed to the vertical stringers by screws only, not nails.
·There is to be no change from tread member to tread member exceeding one-half inch.
·The cross slope shall not exceed one inch per every two feet.
·No garbage or trash, paint, untreated sewage, oil or oily water can be left on the dock or thrown overboard.
The dock commission will inspect each dock annually, reporting any violations to the city. If the dock is found in violation, the owner will be given a notice describing the corrective or preventative measures that must be taken. The owner will then have 30 days from the issuance of the notice to correct the issue.
If the owner fails to correct the violation, “the deficiency shall constitute a nuisance subject to abatement pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 50 of the City Code,” which Schuster said could result in up to 30 days in jail or a $750 fine.
If there is a conflict between the ordinance and the DNR’s requirements, Schuster said the DNR requirements will prevail.
After tidying up a few loose ends with the ordinance’s wording, Mayor Harold Brooks asked the council to make a decision.
“It’s already the middle of March,” he said. “Are you ready to pass this?”
Councilman Joe Muehlbauer said he wanted to get it done and moved to pass the ordinance, waiving the second and third readings. Councilwomen Rogeta Halvorson and Janet Hallberg voted yes, but councilman Charlie Carroll voted no. Joe Collins was absent.
“I think we should at least give it 30 days out there,” Carroll said, noting that he would like to give the public a chance to comment on and consider the ordinance.
Carroll’s nay prevented the ordinance from being adopted, but the second reading could still be waived at the council’s next meeting on March 19, which would still be prior to the docks entering the water.
Fiscal year 2015 budget
McGregor approved its fiscal year 2015 budget at the meeting. The budget runs from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. As of June 30, 2015, the city has budgeted to have an ending fund balance of $2,932,876.
The estimated total tax levy rate per $1,000 valuation on regular property is $13.64028, with a total of $356,287 in taxes levied on property.
Mayor Brooks also asked the council to start thinking about the issue of frozen sewer lines and the possibility of crediting people who have let their water run to prevent lines from freezing.
“It’s an item to talk about and think about. I’ve had a few people ask me,” he said, mentioning that time will tell how many people saw an increase. Then, he said, the city can decide if it is going to reimburse residents.
Brooks also advised residents to not drip their water in order to prevent lines from freezing. Instead, he said, water should be trickled into a plugged bathtub for awhile, then released occasionally as a larger flow. A slow drip into the line allows ice to build up, eventually freezing the sewer line.