Council enters closed session to discuss strategy

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By Shelia Tomkins

The Guttenberg city council at its monthly meeting on Monday, Oct. 9, quickly worked through the regular agenda before going into closed session at the end of the meeting. 

The closed session was called in accordance with Iowa law that allows for closed sessions "to discuss strategy with counsel in matters that are presently in litigation or where litigation is imminent where its disclosure would be likely to prejudice or disadvantage the position of the governmental body in that litigation." The topic discussed in closed session was not revealed.

Upon returning to open session, the council unanimously voted to direct the City Attorney to "act as discussed in closed session."

* * *

On hand for the monthly meeting were Mayor Fred Schaub, council members Mandy Ludovissy, Austin Greve, Jane Parker, Steve Bahls and Michelle Geuder. Assistant City Manager Jamie Blume was also on hand in the absence of City Manager Denise Schneider, who has not been at the council table since June.

Project reports

Ryan Hosch of Veenstra & Kimm, the city's engineering consultant, reported on several projects. He said the North Fifth Street project is nearing completion and estimates it will be closed out in another month. The city council directed Veenstra & Kimm to cease moving forward on the Big Springs trail project, and the council voted to cease work at this time on the flood control electrical project. Hosch said the city's water improvement project is moving forward toward the bidding stage. 

Hosch reported that the required two-year inspection of the Garber Road bridge over Miners Creek, as well as the 310th Street "dump road" bridge will take place in November.

CV/Chamber raise

The council voted to give Brandie Tomkins, Community Vitality/Chamber Director, a 2% raise, bringing her current annual salary of $45,900 to $46,818. In suggesting the raise, Mayor Schaub said, "She's been doing a really good job." 

Farmers market

Gina Dahlstrom-Osburn addressed the council with concerns about the Saturday morning Farmers Market in downtown Guttenberg. She said a good farmers market serves many purposes, including giving visitors information about the community. She said closing the 400 block of South River Park Drive for special events hurts the farmers market and businesses. She suggested limiting road closures to only necessary hours and not during farmers market.  

In a related matter, the council discussed a park board recommendation about street closures and the location of Farmers Market. Mayor Schaub said he would like to leave it as is for the rest of this year and bring it back to the table next spring. The Chamber of Commerce is working on ideas for next year.

Other business

The mayor gave an update on nuisance properties, mentioning that he could see some slow progress on the Tim Schmitt property and that there is also some clean up being done on the Lee Earl property.

An item regarding underground electrical service on Miners Creek Road was tabled since no bid had been received.

Discussion was held on a gate installed on 310th Street. Tom Pittman spoke to the council about the history of the gate. The council will await additional information from the city attorney.

The council approved two ordinances to conform with new state laws, one regarding city fiscal management and the other liquor licenses and tobacco permits. 

The council okayed closing the city office at 4 p.m. on Oct. 30 in order for staff to attend parent-teacher conferences. 

Consent agenda

Item approved under the consent agenda, which are considered to be routine, included the appointment of Pat Kulper to the Cemetery Board; a $580,474 pay request for River City Paving for the North Fifth Street project; a wine sales license for August and Alma's, and an amendment to outdoor service area for the retail alcohol license for Sodes Green Acre Cafe.

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