3rdMapleLa Porte City Council Proceedings – August 25, 2014

The City Council of La Porte City, Iowa met in regular session on August 25, 2014 at Hawkins Memorial Library. Mayor David Neil called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM with Council Members Todd Butler, Sarah Craft and Brent Sadler present. Absent were Council Members Eric Allsup and Mike Johnson.
Library Director Jolene Kronschnabel presented the annual report for Hawkins Library. In fiscal year 2014, the library earned state accreditation at the tier 3 level, and received an Iowa State Library Services Grant in the amount of $3,000 for a Library Needs Assessment. Kronschnabel completed the required coursework to earn the State of Iowa Library Management Certification. For the year, there were 26,939 items circulated. Capital Improvements included donation of chairs from Cedar Valley Bank & Trust as well as painting and new lights. A host of programs took place including multiple author signings, crafting and computer workshops and youth reading programs.
The Council held a public hearing on and approved the sale of Lot 2, Sweet First Addition to Billy and Janice Bergmeier for $17,000.
Discussion was held on a possible embargo of selected streets to heavy traffic. City Attorney Corey Lorenzen reviewed portions of the State Code as it pertains to street embargos. In Lorenzen’s opinion, the Code is contradicting, with two different definitions of streets/highways. He also pointed out that the Attorney General has written an opinion stating the Cities do not have unlimited authority to embargo roads. Mayor Neil thanked everyone for coming to the meeting and stated that he asked for discussion on the issue, and also assured those present that the City was not trying to discourage agriculture in the community. He also stated that the City receives approximately $225,000 per year in Road Use Tax funds, and that amount is not enough to keep up with needed repairs to its streets. Of particular concern were 3rd St, 4th St and Bishop Avenue.
Co-op Manager Larry Mehlert stated that two-thirds of their grain comes in from the south and most traffic to the Co-op comes by way of Bishop and Benton Streets. Mehlert also indicated that the reason 3rd Street had seen such heavy farm traffic in the past few years is because of the construction on 4th Street, and felt that once construction is complete, farm vehicles would have little reason to use 3rd Street. The suggestion was made for the City to request that the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors redesignate some roads Farm to Market in the City that are used more for farm traffic. Council member Butler stated that 4th Street has not been improved in over 50 years, so in fact, the road has held up very well.
Another guest asked if the City had done any studies to see if the heavy traffic is, in fact, causing deterioration. Another guest asked if any other small cities in the area had embargoed their roads. The question was asked if the City planned to embargo roads yet this fall. Mayor Neil replied that at this point, the issue was in the discussion phase only, and the City was just trying to look at all possible options for preserving the City streets. Concern was raised about bottleneck traffic on 8th Street if all of the farm traffic was diverted to 8th and Cedar Street, as well as the narrower width of 8th Street as compared to 4th Street. Council member Butler asked for cooperation from the elevator in designating routes for farm traffic.
The Council forwarded a request to the Planning & Zoning Commission to review and consider a request to rezone three parcels of land at the corner of Highway 218 and Schull from C-2 “Commercial District” to R-1 “Low Density Residential District”.
The City Council gave final approval to a policy on residency requirements for critical personnel. The policy requires Police, Fire, Ambulance and Public Works employees to live within 10 miles of the city limits.
The Council gave approval to the La Porte City Fire department to conduct a training fire on outbuildings located at 109 Main Street. The date for the training exercise is September 15, 2014 with an alternate date of September 29, 2014.
The City Council gave approval to allow the closure of the 200 block of Main Street on Saturday, August 30, 2014 for an event at PnB’s Brew Pub, and to allow the consumption of alcohol (wine and beer only) at the same event.