City Council Meeting Minutes – August 20, 2018

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Madrid City Council
Regular Meeting
August 20, 2018
5:30 p.m.

The City Council meeting was called to order at 5:30 p.m. with Mayor Tom Brown presiding.

Present at Roll Call: Steve Burich and Lane Shaver. Nate Samples arrived at 5:39 p.m.

Other City Officials Present:  City Clerk Mary Jo Reese, Deputy City Clerk Deb Biegger, City Attorney John Flynn, Public Works Director Scott Church, Fire Chief Jim Murry, Public Safety Director Rick Tasler, Library Director Angie Strong, Park Board members Jolynne Carlson and Dualla Carlson, Labor Day Committee member Chuck Rigby and Police Officer John Mackey.

Motion by Councilperson Shaver, seconded by Councilperson Burich to approve the agenda for August 20, 2018 with the correction of changing the title of Resolution # 10-18-19 to say, “Resolution Appointing a City Attorney.”

Ayes: All Present                                              Motion Carried

Motion by Councilperson Shaver, seconded by Councilperson Burich to open a public hearing regarding Resolution # 03-18-19, “Resolution to Close Alley and Transfer Real Estate.”

Ayes: All Present                                              Motion Carried

No one from the public wished to speak regarding the proposed alley closure and no correspondence was received at City Hall regarding the matter.

Motion by Councilperson Shaver, seconded by Councilperson Burich to close the public hearing.

Ayes: All Present                                              Motion Carried

Motion by Councilperson Burich, seconded by Councilperson Shaver to approve the City Council Meeting Minutes of August 8, 2018, and the Library Meeting Minutes of July 12, 2018.

Ayes: All Present                                    Motion Carried

Motion by Councilperson Shaver, seconded by Councilperson Burich to approve the claims for August 20, 2018 in the amount of $112,765.16.

Ayes: All Present                                              Motion Carried

Mayor Brown advised the Iowa Public Meeting Board is the entity that oversees open meeting. Brown recently changed the way City Council meeting are being run, allowing for input from the public on each matter. He pointed out the Open Meetings Act does not mandate allowing citizen input, however due process dictates that a public body should allow for citizen input. He stated going forward if there is an issue presented that receives a large amount of input from the public, he will ask for a motion on the matter being considered to be rescinded and will assign the chair of that area to convene a separate meeting before moving forward on the issue.

Mike Heeren of 403 West 5th Street asked that any major decisions being considered by the Council be tabled until after the upcoming election, in order to have a full council available to consider these matters. He would also like a “Meet the Candidates” forum for the upcoming Ward 3, and At Large special election. Mayor Brown agreed with Heeren’s concerning postponing of major decisions until after the election. Jennifer Williams of the Madrid Register News indicated a “Meet the Candidates” event is being planned.

Kurt Kruse of 805 S. Union Street approached the Council with questions for Police Chief Tasler. He asked why the Lexipol system used at the police department went live after the removal from office of Val Chapman, Eric Ohrt and Kruse. Tasler advised he would not being answering that question. Kruse also asked the Police Chief who made the decision to begin taking classes after years of no training classes being taken. He feels the newspaper failed to mention this item. Councilperson Shaver objected to the line of questioning from Kruse and referred to legal counsel for advice. City Attorney John Flynn proposed that Kruse send his question to him in a written format, where he can address them with Tasler, similar to an open records request. Kruse feels these questions have gone unanswered in the past. Kruse went on to question Councilperson Shaver regarding a text message that was sent to him earlier in the year. He quoted from text messages sent to him by Shaver which Kruse feels are a conflict of the Open Meeting Act.  Councilperson Shaver stated it was not his intent to conduct an illegal meeting. Kruse them asked Shaver why he felt it was within his rights as Public Safety chair for the Council to allow the Public Safety Director Rick Tasler, vacation, when the Mayor had directed him to not allow the vacation. Councilperson Shaver referred all further questions to legal Counsel.

Mayor Brown indicated the purpose of the public comment section of the Council Meeting agenda is to allow citizens to make comments, not to carry on a dialog, or question members of the Council. John Flynn indicated he would not force anyone to answer a question directed at them by the public.

Perry Gjersvik approached the Council to advise them on matters concerning proposed Resolution # 11-18-19, “A Resolution Authorizing the Submittal by the City of Madrid, of a Clean Water SRF Water Resource Restoration Sponsored Project Application to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.” The city is eligible for up to 10% of the SRF loan amount of $4.9 million dollar. This amount can be used for storm water projects within the city. While the money is not a grant, it does not count against the City’s debt limit.” Motion by Councilperson Samples, seconded by Councilperson Burich to approve the loan application in the amount of $490,000.

Ayes: All Present                                              Motion Carried

Chuck Rigby of the Madrid Labor Day Board introduced Lacey Ortiz and asked for the Council to approve her as a board member. Councilperson Shaver made a motion to table all appointments to all boards, committees and commissions until after the election on September 25, 2018. Councilperson Samples seconded that motion. Lacey Ortiz stated she understands the decision and she will still volunteer for the Labor Day Board. Mike Heeren approached the Council again to clarify his early comment. He does not feel that appointing a citizen to a board is a major decision. Don Lincoln of 1672 334th Street commented that due to the difficulty of obtaining members for boards, he is concerned with tabling appointments until after the election. He is also concerned with the ability of those boards and commissions to conduct business if their membership is not properly staffed. Eric Ohrt of 400 Southern Prairie Drive questioned if why the Council would choose to delay these appoint requests, as no applicant has been denied an appointment in the past. Councilperson Shaver stated the Council is not denying the requests but postponing the appointments until a full council has been elected. Chuck Rigby feels the Council needs to review the rules for boards and commissions and the appointing of volunteers. Angie Strong commented that Library Ordinance regarding Board appointments can only be changed with a vote of the public.

Ayes: All Present               Nay: Burich                       Motion Carried

Mayor Brown commented that even though no appointments will be made to boards or commissions until after the election, that any interested parties are encouraged to participate in any board. All meeting of boards and commissions are open to the public.

Library Director shared upcoming programming with the Council, and information regarding the summer reading program statistics during. She reported the fall book sale will be held this upcoming weekend and will continue during library hours through Wednesday August 28th. The library will be closing at noon on Thursday August 29th, and will remain closed until Tuesday, September 4th, for the Labor Day weekend. The library will be showing its Labor Day movie on Saturday night September 2nd at 7:00. The movie this year will be Avengers Infinity War.

Mayor Brown questioned recent discussions by the library board to possibly eliminate fines at the library. Strong replied the matter has been tabled until a later date. Brown also suggested an award system for returning books rather than punishment for not returning an item.

Motion by Councilperson Samples, seconded by Councilperson Burich to accept the resignation of Dualla Carlson from the Park Board

Ayes: All Present                                              Motion Carried

Jolynne Carlson of the Parks and Recreation Board reported the restrooms on the west side of Edgewood Park have been updated and lighting will be installed. She also reported the volleyball league is wrapping up for the season. The soccer club is currently selling baseball cards and baseball is looking into having an irrigation system installed on those fields.

Fire Chief Jim Murry reported problems with the rescue truck. It is currently being repaired. He also stated the tanker truck has a leak and needs repair. He is currently waiting on a repair estimate for the repair work.

Public Safety Director Rick Tasler stated he is now in possession of his contract that he believes was previously stolen from his personnel file.  He stated there are several upcoming trainings planned for the department. He also commented his department is well ahead of plan on Lexipol training.

Motion by Councilperson Shaver, seconded by Councilperson Burich to approve Resolution # 03-18-19, “Resolution to Close Alley and Transfer Real Estate. “

Ayes: All Present                                              Motion Carried

Motion by Councilperson Samples, seconded by Councilperson Shaver to approve Resolution # 08-18-19, “Resolution Removing Former Mayor from Warrant Signing Powers.”

Ayes: All Present                                              Motion Carried

The Council considered Resolution #08-18-19, Resolution Empowering Additional Signer for Warrants.” The resolution names Mayor Tom Brown, and Councilperson Lane Shaver as signers on the checking account for the City of Madrid. Mike Heeren opposed the resolution stating the resolution should wait until after the election to be considered. City Clerk, Mary Jo Reese explained the resolution simply replaces former Mayor Kurt Kruse, with the new Mayor Tom Brown. Councilperson Shaver was already named as a co-signer on a previous resolution.

Motion by Councilperson Burich, seconded by Councilperson Burich to approve the resolution.

Ayes: All Present                                              Motion Carried

Motion by Councilperson Shaver, seconded by Councilperson Burich to approve a request for payment from MIC Insurance in the amount of $10,639. The invoice is due to a recent audit with MIC and is mainly related to an increase in workmen’s compensation charges. Mayor Brown asked that the City Clerk to review the reason for the increases.

Ayes: All Present                                              Motion Carried

 

Motion by Councilperson Shaver, seconded by Councilperson Burich to approve a request for payment from the Boone County Auditor in the amount of $1,762.64. The invoice covers the cost of the recent special election for Mayor, and Ward 2 council seats.

Ayes: All Present                                              Motion Carried

The Council reviewed information regarding the special election for Ward 3, and At large positions. The election will be held on Tuesday, September 25th. The deadline for filing a petition for office is August 31st at 5:00. More information and necessary forms can be obtained from the city’s website.

Motion by Councilperson Samples, seconded by Councilperson Shaver to move the next City Council meeting from September 3rd, to September 4th due to the Labor Day holiday.

Ayes: All Present                                              Motion Carried

Motion by Councilperson Burich, seconded by Councilperson Samples to approve Resolution #09-18-19,” Resolution Setting the Dates for Open Burning Within the City Limits of Madrid.”

Ayes: All Present                                              Motion Carried

Motion by Councilperson Burich, seconded by Councilperson Burich, seconded by Councilperson Samples to approve Resolution # 10-18-19, “A Resolution Appointing a City Attorney.” The Resolution appoints John Flynn as City Attorney for the City of Madrid until January 1, 2020.

Ayes: All Present                                              Motion Carried

Motion by Councilperson Samples, seconded by Councilperson Burich to approve the liquor license for the Madrid Labor Day Beer Tent.

Ayes: All Present                                              Motion Carried

Andy Knauss of Midwest Technologies demonstrated a proposed audio system, including microphones to be installed in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Knauss did not have a price estimate yet for the system. Councilperson Samples stated he will also be obtaining bids for systems from other companies.

City Attorney John Flynn provided information regarding conflict of interest to the Council. He referred to Iowa Code 68.2A, which defines conflict of interest. He asked that the Council familiarize themselves with the code. Iowa Code 68B-21, and Iowa Code 68B-22 covers the receiving of gifts as a public employee. Mayor Brown asked that a “Declaration of Conflict of Interest” section be added to the agenda. Any Councilperson who feels they have a conflict of interest with any agenda item will need to declare that conflict at the beginning of the meeting.

The Council discussed the process needed to handle a sale of tobacco violation from the State of Iowa. Two businesses in town will be fined for selling tobacco to underage residents. John Flynn stated the city must decide whether to have him prosecute the case or allow the Attorney General’s office to handle the matter. Motion by Councilperson Samples, seconded by Councilperson Burich to allow the Attorney General’s office to handle the violations.

Ayes: All Present                                              Motion Carried

John Flynn presented additional information regarding the city’s Urban Renewal Plan and proposed tax abatement changes. Flynn spoke recently with John Danos of Dorsey and Whitney law firm in Des Moines regarding the matter. The City currently has 100% tax abatement for five years on new structures and improvements on existing structures. Current Iowa law calls for 100% abatement on the first $75,000 of valuation. Flynn explained the city could perhaps grandfather in, to allow the 100% abatement plan. The Council decided to table the matter until after the special election to allow representation of all citizens.

The Council reviewed the Open Records Policy which was adopted by the City of Madrid in 2015. The Policy outlines how the City will handle open records request and the fees the State allows the City to charge for expenses. The policy follows State of Iowa Code chapter 22. John Flynn will review all requests for information for legal compliance before they are released.

Councilperson Samples stated City Council members will be having new photos taken at the meeting on September 4th. This includes all City staff members.

Councilperson Burich asked for information regarding a recent mailing from Service Line Warranties of America. Many citizens are confused by the mailing. The company insures water and sewer service lines and was endorsed by the City of Madrid. Information on the program can be obtained by contacting the company at the toll-free number listed on the mailing.

Kurt Kruse of 805 South Union Street asked that the record show the Chief of Police previously accused Kruse, and former Mayor Dirk Ringgenberg with having his contract. Tasler stated previously in the meeting that he obtained the contract from former City Administrator Todd Kilzer.

Mayor Tom Brown commented he has had meetings with officials of the city regarding city government and vulnerabilities within the system. Brown mentioned email and IT security as areas that have significant issues. At this time, all email addresses for Councilmembers and Mayor are in the process of being secured.

Brown temporarily appointed Councilperson Samples as Administration, Policy and Labor Day chairperson, Councilperson Burich as Public Works Chairperson and Councilperson Shaver as Public Safety and Mayor Pro-Tem. The positions will be reviewed once the special election is over and there is a full council.

Brown commented he is reviewing the publics request to change the meeting minute time to a time later than 5:30.

Motion by Councilperson Samples, seconded by Councilperson Shaver to adjourn the City Council Meeting at 7:30 p.m.