DEWITT — The DeWitt City Council approved street closures for the annual Homecoming parade on Sept. 21 and reminded students and residents that Homecoming should not be an event that exhibits bad or negative behavior.
Last year’s Homecoming week brought many complaints of vandalism, trespassing and harassing of residents. There were also worries for student safety in nighttime activities. A letter was sent to parents and students reminding them that some of these activities are illegal and could be misdemeanors. Both city and school officials signed the letter.
At its recent council meeting, City Administrator Steve Lindner said everyone should work to try to diminish any type of illegal activity.
The council discussed new rules from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources concerning nutrient reduction, metal strategies and disinfection at the water pollution control plant. Three proposals from the city’s engineering firm, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin Engineering of Dubuque gave an overview of requirements that are expected to be completed by 2021. Geoff Blandin of IIW said time limits and methods for the three proposals are somewhat different and measurable quantities must meet the IDNR limits. He said the disinfection system planning and nutrient reduction may result in construction to meet permit requirements. Engineering studies will show if construction is a reasonable option.
In regard to metal reduction strategies, construction is not affordable and industries must reduce metals, Blandin said. The city may have to redraft current ordinances, especially for new industries. He also said criteria must be established and a list of targeted industries that might go over limits provided so that there is no need to make improvements for metal reduction at the wastewater treatment plant.
Lindner said it was a lot of work for the city to account for and plan to meet DNR permit requirements.
The three proposals for IIW professional services will cost the city around $130,000, some of which may be financed this year, according to Finance Director Deanna Rekemeyer. Timing and financing of the projects will be part of future discussions, Lindner added.
Three reports required by the state were approved with little comment. They were the financial report which lists all expenditures at $13,445,656 and revenue at $13,548,520 as of June 30, 2017; the street finance report, which lists total available funds at $6,358,480 with total expenses at $3,594,065; and the urban renewal report, which is newly required and reports the city’s tax increment finance programs and projects.
The council agreed to pave Fifth Avenue South from First Street to Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way at an estimated cost of $14,000 for 8-inch concrete roadway. The action is the result of the request of Terry Stauffer, owner of the Dawg House at 503 First St. Heavy agriculture and railroad use has created a significant dust problem.
Lindner reported there would be a joint meeting with the library board tentatively on Oct. 9 to review the city’s capital improvement planning in light of proposals for library expansion.
Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Lake reported the DeWitt Aquatic Center’s season had closed with similar attendance figures as last year and that there were about 900 current memberships at the DeWitt Fitness Center.
A closed session to discuss a real estate purchase followed the meeting.