Dysart council hears water concerns
The Dysart City Council met for their regular July meeting on Wednesday, July 8 at the Dysart Community Building. Members present included Mary Wankowicz, Stacey Dabney, Reece Petersen, and Bret Hennessy; along with Mayor Tim Glenn. Council member Taylor Gingrich was absent.
Jon Winkelpleck, Larry L. Winkelpleck, and Zach Winkelpleck were before the council on Wednesday to discuss an issue their family farm has been experiencing regarding city water discharge onto their fields.
The Winkelplecks, a fourth generation farming operation, own ag land that abuts much of the western city border. They described to the council how they have attempted over the past three years to seed a waterway located across X Avenue between Tallmadge Street and Wilson Street that receives much of the city’s water discharge.
They’ve been unsuccessful in those attempts as they claim the speed at which the discharge comes into the waterway is preventing the grass and vegetation they have put down to take root.
One proposal would be to look into installing some kind of water retention basin near the waterway that could receive, store, and more gradually distribute water during times of heavy rains like that which occurred earlier this month.
The family has been working with the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office in Toledo on the issue and approached the council in hopes of opening a discussion about the city water discharge.
After hearing out the issue, Mayor Glenn indicated the council would have their city engineer, Jeff Morrow of Anderson-Bogert Engineers & Surveyors, look into the possibility of a solution like a retention basin to be employed as a first step in the process.
In other council business:
•The council approved a request to temporarily allow a goat grazing service to assist in clearing ground at 310 Sherman Street. The goats will remain fenced in on the property for approximately one week.
•Approved a request from a Union High parent committee to block off the sidewalk and parking spots around the Dysart Community Building on the evening of Wednesday, July 29.
•Approved Resolution 2020-33 for a change order and pay application for the 2020 Connell Street Project.
•Approved the annual payment for the Dysart Development Corporation in the 2021 fiscal year.
•Discussed a request from the Iowa DNR to plug one of the city’s wells. The council indicated they would communicate back to Iowa DNR that plans are being made to set aside funds for the well plugging project in the future.
The council, along with Dysart Chief of Police Joe Hols, discussed the formation and implementation of a city ordinance regarding Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) operation within city limits. All those present appeared in favor of allowing UTVs to operate in a similar fashion as golf carts.
The current ordinance regulating golf cart usage requires that operators hold a valid state drivers license, obey all city traffic regulations, operate only between sunrise and sunset, and equip the golf cart with a slow moving sign, a safety flag, and breaks.
The ordinance also states there should only be as many occupants in a golf cart as there are permanent seats available and that riders should remain seated while the vehicle is moving. Children under the age of two are not permitted to ride in a golf cart.
The purpose of enacting a UTV ordinance would be to outline guidelines for safe operation of the vehicles that have become increasingly popular in recent years. Chief Bols reported that he was looking into UTV ordinances used by other cities and was particularly interested in the version used by La Porte City. Bols will return with a proposal at a later meeting.
Julie Scadden, Dysart Ambulance Director, reported that the ambulance building was having issues controlling heat during recent weeks with high temperatures and humidity. Scadden noted that medications the Ambulance Service keeps on hand must be stored under a certain temperature limit and that the lack of ventilation or air conditioning in the building was making it difficult to keep the medication storage area within its temperature guidelines. After discussing multiple options, the council determined they would have Public Works Superintendent Shawn Fisher look at installing vents in the building to help regulate temperature.
Superintendent Fisher reported a sewer issue on Tilford Street where a sizable cinder block was found lodged in the underground pipe. After attempts were made to clear the concrete block, it was determined the best course of action would be to bring in a sewer rehabilitation robot that would travel down the sewer pipe and saw through the obstruction. This would be done as a measure to avoid digging up the street to access the affected sewer line. The council gave the go ahead for Fisher to rent the robotic unit at an estimated cost of around $2,000.
Fisher also reported eight different sections along city roadways where the street had been dug up to access water and sewer lines going into mostly residential property. He hoped to have those sections filled before cold weather arrived later this year and after some discussion with the council determined that another round of notices would be sent to property owners in hopes of spurring those projects along. City code states that any excavation of streets, alleys, or parking areas shall be restored to the condition of the property prior to the commencement of the work, or in a manner satisfactory to the city, at the expense of the permit holder/property owner. The council hoped the notices would help move property owners into action but discussed the option of the city completing the work and billing the property owners in the event the issues are left unresolved.
It was also noted that Public Works staff member Jamie Kane had passed his pool license exam
During their reports, several council members expressed thanks toward the Public Works department for their efforts in responding to heavy rains earlier this month that dropped over nine inches of moisture across a two day stretch.
Mayor Glenn reported that he had received multiple public nuisance complaints about the property at 401 Hwy 21 and that he has been trying to work with the property owner to remedy the issues. Glenn also relayed to the council that the Dysart Family Aquatic Center may need to close on Friday, July 17 due to a projected shortage of life guards. An official decision on the one-day closure had not been made yet but appeared possible.