Land and water issues concern Wellman council
WELLMAN — Wastewater, running water, flood water and land were the major agenda items for the Wellman City Council Monday. The first, which involves improvements to the city’s wastewater system, drew no objections during the public hearing and subsequent council approval to seek a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to help with the $793,710 costs.
Gary Hughes of the East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG) noted that the improvements will aid 56 percent of city residents that are in the low to moderate income designation, a key segment in CDBG awards. Deadline for grant application is Nov. 14 and the council approved the move and authorized the mayor to sign all associated documents. Award winners will be announced in mid-March.
There also was a public hearing for an amendment to the city zoning ordinance regarding flood plain regulations at which no objections were heard. The amendment provides for flood plain designations as shown in the new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maps. It is linked the city’s ordinance that permits residents in flood plain areas to apply for National Floodplain Insurance, currently at preferred rates. The council Monday held the first reading of the amendment and passage is likely at the Nov. 19 meeting.
City Administrator Nick Pacha noted that changes in the FEMA maps now have some of the downtown in the flood plain, but there are not substantial changes.
A large water issue involved Chris Hagemeier who had a single month’s water/sewer bill of $841, compared to the usual $145 or so.
Hagemeir explained he had the water softener service come twice (at a cost of $100 per visit) and a plumber following city recommendations to find a water leak. There were no indications of any water seepage or leaks within the house or around it that would account for 37,000 gallons used in a seven-day period. He did not argue that the water was used, but that it never went into the sewer system. He also asked if the meter could be replaced.
Council members indicated they did not think the problem was with the meter and suggested a payment plan could be worked out. City Attorney Dan Kitchen, reviewing brief the situation, said the water did not go to the sewer.
After some further discussion, the council voted 3-1 to void the sewer charges. Opposed was Fern Bontrager.
One land issue was approval of the re-zoning application for lots 2,3,6,7 in the 1400 block of Madison Avenue in the Daytonville section of Wellman to permit the local American Legion post to have a post home. It was approved on the second reading with a waiving of the third reading.
The second issue involves city property that was deeded over, but the deed was never recorded and no one can find it, said Kitchen. As a result, he recommended a public hearing for vacating of the land and clarification of city easements. The council agreed.