The Cherokee City Council Tuesday night reviewed and adjusted the City's health insurance, and property and liability insurance policies with local agents, and approved a special ordinance concerning vendor fees for RAGBRAI XL scheduled to overnight in Cherokee Sunday, July 22, bringing an estimated 20,000 people to town.
In other action, the Council also heard from citizens adversely affected by last year's renovation of West Cherry and North 11th Street projects.
Dave Kintigh, 939 Amber Dr., was at the meeting regarding his property at 408 W. Cherry St. He said he is not happy with the way his driveway was replaced during the street improvement project. Before the project, the portion between the street and sidewalk was winged out so that there was a wider radius entering the driveway. This wider radius was replaced with just a single driveway entrance, said Kintigh.
City Administrator Don Eikmeier said he had visited with Kintigh last week and that this was supposed to be an item on the agenda. The engineer on the project indicated that the driveways were replaced as standard driveways. There are several other property owners who may have the same situation and the City will need to decide whether to replace them as they were prior to the project.
Eikmeier said he will find out if there are others with the same issue and this will be an agenda item for the April 24 meeting.
Jan Woodall, 435 W. Cherry, referenced an article in the Chronicle Times regarding giving residents on West Cherry and N. 11th Streets a break on their April and May water bills to water new seed. She asked that since the seeding hasn't yet been done, will this be pushed back to include June?
Eikmeier answered that the 60 days would start after the seeding is complete. Woodall also indicated that none of her trees had to be removed for the project, however, some of the excavation got close to the roots of the trees. What happens if they show damage? she asked. Eikmeier said that several trees in the project area have been marked for that reason and the City will watch them for the next few years to be sure there is no damage.
Council Member Mick Mallory reported that the porch roof on the house at 116 E. Maple St. needs to be removed as it is a dangerous situation. The Administrator said that the area has been fenced off and the City will be taking the roof down very soon.
The Council previously voted unanimously to condemn the house at 116 E. Maple St. owned by Fred and Linda Springer. According to the City, the Springers have salvaged "everything" of value from the house, including siding, doors and windows, and interior woodwork, fixtures and furnishings, and left it in an unsightly and dilapidated condition.
According to the City, repeated contact has been made with the Springers and their attorney, and the property's Tax Certificate Holder, with no resolution to the problem forthcoming. Eikmeier said the Springers indicated interest in deeding the house to the City, but that the City has no interest in the house or lot.
The City maintains that Springer is liable for the property and the Council agreed two weeks ago to condemn the structure, raze the house, and assess all costs for the demolition to the property owners.
In addition, the Council approved issuing the Springers a municipal infraction citation which will require Fred Springer to appear in Court and subject him to a fine and possibly jail should he not comply with the Court's order to demolish the property.
Mayor Murphy opened a public hearing to vacate the alley east of 740 Gillease St. As there were no oral or written comments, the Mayor closed the hearing.
The Council then adopted Resolution No. 12-05, a resolution to vacate the alley east of 740 Gillease St
The Council also adopted Resolution No. 12-06, a resolution of desire to dispose of real property, the alley east of 740 Gillease St., by sealed bids
At its last meeting, the Council also agreed to vacate an unused, undeveloped alley right-of-way adjacent to 740 Gillease Street to allow property owners Gus and Mary Erickson to develop and maintain the property. The Ericksons have maintained the alley for many years.
The City will retain a utility easement for the property.
The Council approved the second presentation of an ordinance pertaining to health and safety issues for RAGBRAI and establishing various fees. The proposed Ordinance calls for a $300 fee for non-profit vendors, $750 for profit vendors, and a refundable $200 deposit for clean-up.
No permit fee is required for existing Cherokee businesses at their normal location; however, if they choose to set up a booth at a separate location, a fee will be required.
There is also a $100 late fee charge for permits sought after June 1, 2012, and $250 for permits sought on July 22-23, 2012.
In other action, Mark Napier, Water Superintendent, was present to review bids to rebuild Well #12. Bids were received from Sargent Drilling and Cahoy Well & Pump Service. Because of uncertainties that will be found when the pump is pulled, final costs can't be determined.
Based on unit prices, Napier recommended low bidder Sargent Drilling. Napier said he has worked with both companies and they have both stood behind their work. He also recommends using the 3525 rpm motor as opposed to the 1800 rpm. The Council then voted to award the contract to Sargent Drilling to rebuild Well #12..
Eikmeier reported that the residential structures at 316 E. Main St. have been abandoned since October 2009. The north side basement wall has collapsed and is covered by plywood, allowing animals to get inside. He said he received a call from owner Pat Collins who said he didn't know what to do with the property and he can't afford to travel back to Cherokee to deal with it. The Council then voted to condemn the structures at 316 E. Main St. and issue property owner Pat Collins a municipal infraction citation. Collins now lives in Arizona.
Council Member Dan Morrow said that since they were addressing property on Main Street, he asked about the status of the former Cookie's Tap building at 208 W. Main. Eikmeier said he would check with the owner and report back at the next meeting.
Insurance agents Rick Angell and Hank Hayes were present to review the City's health insurance premium renewal for fiscal year 2012-13. Angell reported that the City will see a 15.55% decrease in premiums for next fiscal year, based on the fact that covered charges decreased from $573,009 in 2010 to $271,176 in 2011. The Wellmark BCBS health insurance policy renews on July 1, 2012.
Also, Scott Weber of Central Insurance was present to review the City's property and liability insurance deductibles and liability limits. After reviewing the City's claims history, Weber recommended that the City increase deductibles for general liability, auto liability, wrongful acts, and law enforcement liability to $2,500 per incident; increase deductibles for auto physical damage and property to $500/$600; and increase the maximum liability coverage from $2, million to $4 million. This will be a net increase in premium of $1,292/yr.,
The Council then approved changes to the City's property and liability insurance, as recommended by Weber.
In his closing report, Eikmeier reported that work on the Lake Street Project and Spring Lake Trail Project has begun. The trail project is expected to be done by mid-May and Lake Street by June 25.
There will be a community RAGBRAI® meeting on Monday, April 16 at 5:30 p.m. at WITCC in Cherokee and Council members were encouraged to attend.