The Wykoff City Council met on January 9 in regular session. Members in attendance were Mary Tjepkes, Mayor Al Williams, Clerk Becky Schmidt, Mary Sackett, and Brody Mensink. Rocky Vreeman was absent. Stating that, “A penny saved is a penny earned,” Mayor Williams outlined plans to cut city expenses. He asked that all city employees remember to turn off lights when leaving the clerk’s office. He also led a discussion regarding the surveillance camera that the city installed in the office, saying although the city signed a three-year contract, the camera is not working, so it should be unplugged. He then stated that the city will not provide so many full packets of information at council meetings, and will instead just put out a stack of the general agenda for citizens. It was pointed out that citizens can still request the full packet if they wish. There was also discussion about putting the full packet onto the city’s website. The council also discussed and approved having the clerk’s office open only four days a week, Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mayor Williams also said he plans to run council meetings more formally, meaning that speakers will need to be recognized and “given the floor,” and that interruptions will not be tolerated, so that each speaker can have his or her say.
A citizen addressed the council, asking to get copies of the water treatment plant’s monthly reports for the past two years. He explained that he’s “ultra-sensitive to fluoride” and has been having some health problems that could be linked to the fluoride levels in the city’s water. Mark Arndt said he will get the reports so they can be shared.
Mayor Williams said he’s checking around to see the cost and feasibility of having concrete poured to fix the leaking manhole problem in the city. He stated that Chatfield had done this, at a cost of around $225 per manhole.
Duane Krahn then addressed the council on behalf of St. Johns Church, explaining that the church recently had a water leak (and he praised Becky Schmidt for bringing that to his attention). He asked if the city could make an adjustment to the billing. Mayor Williams explained that in such cases, the water usage must be paid for, but the city can use an “average” sewer billing for that customer. Duane said that would be appreciated, and the council agreed to do this.
Fire Chief Wade Baker informed the council that there will be five openings for fire fighters, and that Becky Schmidt will be putting advertising in the newspaper to seek applicants. He also added that previous applicants (within the past year) will be contacted to see if they are still interested.
The council approved a list of annual authorizations, including official newspaper, bank, authorized signers, schedule of fees, and committee appointments. The council tabled a decision on selecting a city attorney, so that options can be reviewed. Mayor Williams brought up an issue regarding a tree near Schumacher’s, and he explained that because of the tree’s branch structure, he does not feel it should be cut down by a non-professional, so he suggested having Mr. Norby cut it down. The council agreed.
The council discussed the rental rates for using the community building. Current rates are $100 for the smaller side, $150 for the larger side, and $250 for the whole building. After discussion, the council voted to raise the rates to $125 for the smaller side, $200 for the larger side, and $325 for the whole building, and the deposit was raised from $50 to $100. The additional “dance fee” of $100 is unchanged.
Due to a conflict, the next regular meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 8 at 7 p.m. The public is welcome. The Rural Fire Board meeting is set for February 22 (with a back-up date of February 23).