In addition to the routine business that accompanies the first City Council meeting of the new year following an election, members of the Council addressed two separate alley right-of-way issues.

The first alley in question, located adjacent to 1107 Jackson Street, contains a fence that has been erected by the property owners, Galen and Roberta Pettengill. In a letter to the Pettengills, the City noted the fence’s location is a violation of Chapter 135.02 of the City’s Code of Ordinances and must be moved within 90 days.

Addressing the Council, Galen Pettengill noted the alley where the fence sits has not been used for years. He also indicated the fence is not permanent and can be moved at any time.

Council member Mike Johnson suggested the Pettengills could request to have the alley vacated and sold to abutting property owners. A similar item on the Council’s agenda included such a request from the property owners at 403 Locust, who want to purchase the vacated alley adjacent to their property from the City for the costs of survey and attorney fees. The Council forwarded their request to the Planning & Zoning Commission for a review and recommendation.

The Council also reviewed a proposal from MSA Professional Services for a Watershed Assessment and Plan. The plan is a recommended component of the City’s application for funding for a sponsored project through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. If approved, the City would be authorized to use approximately $120,000 to $150,000 toward a water quality project that would otherwise be paid in interest on a State Revolving Fund loan for improvements to the sewer treatment plant. MSA Professional Services estimated the cost of writing the necessary plan at around $9,000, which the Council approved.

In other business, the Council amended the City’s credit card policy, which will allow rewards points earned on City-issued credit cards to be redeemed for merchandise or gift cards to be used for public purposes.