Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

August 23, 2013

Busy night for city council at regular meeting

By Bethany Yocum Journal-Express
The Journal Express

---- — Several discussions were held and actions taken at the regular meeting of the Knoxville City Council meeting on Aug. 19.

The agenda had time slated for a public hearing regarding the rezoning of the 206 West Pearl St. property. No individuals attended the hearing, and the City Council approved the rezoning.

The Council also discussed approving MSA Professional Services to conduct a survey amongst some Knoxville residents in order to continue with the Community Development Block Grant program. City Manager Harold Stewart said that the program has produced successful home rehabilitations in the past, such as winterization of homes. The Housing Authority has aided the City in conducting a survey, but that has proved to not be an available option at this time. The application for CDBG must be turned in by December. A representative from MSA was present at the meeting for any questions. The survey work will cost $3,000, and the survey will be conducted primarily by mail to 200-300 homes in Knoxville. The survey will be a 2-3 month process.

After determining that this survey can be used for up to three years, the Council approved MSA to do the survey work so they can continue with the CDBG program as quickly as possible.

Also in discussion was a sewer televising project with Veenstra & Kimm that has been in progress for several years. Assistant City Manager Dylan Feik said that the City’s original contract included the linear number of feet of the sewer. Feik recommended that a list be made of the sewer sections that remain to be recorded to be submitted to the televising company. A request will also be made to Central Iowa Televising that the video footage be given to the city in a format that will be easily accessible for viewing.

Stewart brought to discussion requirements by the DNR that the waste treatment plant be updated. The plant update will be based on natural systems. Council member April Verwers requested clarification about a section of the contract regarding residential inspections. Feik explained that the document had mentioned an inspection of Sewer Area 4. Sewer inspections have been underway, and Area 4 inspections should be finished in the next 30 days. Section 3 inspection will take place during the Streetscape project.

Feik says that the main items of importance with the waste treatment plant update are disinfection and nutrient removal. The update will require a UV disinfection system of which the anticipated cost is $480,000. This is an update the City has delayed for a while, largely due to the cost. The DNR has allowed five years to achieve this update. The nutrient removal update is anticipated to be a costly process, but is not required by the DNR with the current permit. The Council approved the permit between the City and the DNR.

Other items:

-The next City Council meeting will be on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 6:15 p.m.

-Police Chief Dan Losada said that he will be presenting a draft of a document at the next City Council meeting that could potentially allow utility vehicles on city streets. The definition of “utility vehicles” will be strictly defined so there is no confusion as to which vehicles would be allowed; gators and 4-wheelers will be excluded from the potential allowance.

-Knoxville Lions Club Ladd Montegna brought to the Council’s attention that the Lions Club is currently planning to create a “community pride hall of flags” with American flags placed every 20 feet along the road of Highway 14 through Knoxville. The flags would be put up five times a year for patriotic holidays. Montegna is currently dealing with potential issues regarding flags being within a certain distance to the entrances of business properties. The Lions Club is raising money for the project and encourages those interested in being involved to contact them. Their hope is to have the flags up by Memorial Day next year.

-Stewart and Feik have expressed that public meetings about the Streetscape project are held bi-weekly for those who have concerns. There is also a calendar showing the stages of the project online. Those who are interested can subscribe to receive project calendar updates.

-Stewart says that a formal proposal regarding the VA property will be presented at the next City Council meeting.