The Wykoff City Council held a regular meeting on June 10. All council members were in attendance (Lyle Morey, Mary Tjepkes, Mayor Al Williams, City Clerk Becky Schmidt, Mary Sackett and Richard Gleason).
Immediately prior to the regular council meeting, a public hearing was held at 7 p.m. regarding the County 5 Improvement project. The hearing was required due to a change in the project plans since the original public hearing. Daren Sikkink, representing WHKS, and Ron Gregg, Fillmore County Engineer, spoke to those in attendance regarding the project, with Sikkink stating, “The only change that occurred was along Line Street.”
Sikkink further explained, “So once Fillmore County got into the design, they started looking at the area around Line Street, and originally was not going to put curb and gutter in there, but they said that may improve the situation by adding curb and gutter just along the east side (of Line Street).”
Sikkink said county roads generally have a “right of way” of over 100 feet width, but this area of Line Street has only a 66-foot right of way, which is one of the reasons for the curb and gutter plan. Ron Gregg drew a diagram to explain how this will help the project fit into the space available, compared to the space needed for a ditch on both sides.
Sikkink gave a summary of the cost allocations, saying, “The way the project is set up, Fillmore County is picking up all of the pavement and roadway costs. Curb and gutter is a shared cost between the city and county… The sanitary sewer and water main are totally on the city… The city’s assessment policy is… to assess at 20% (to those property owners impacted by a project).”
Gregg said that as the projects gets started later this summer, some trees will need to be cut down. These trees will be marked with a pink ribbon. He also stated that the actual work will likely begin around late August. A question was asked about which area would be worked on first, and Gregg said that will be determined by the contractor, and dependent on efforts to have the community center area available during Fall Fest. The public hearing closed at 7:40 p.m., and the council then opened their regular meeting.
Council members asked about payment for firefighters to participate in the annual Tri-County golf tournament. Wade Baker said this is something the city has paid for in previous years. Council members voiced their concerns about the city paying for the cart rentals, and the ensuing liability. After discussion, the council chose to approve payment for the tournament registration, but not the cart rentals.
Baker also spoke to the council about the three firefighter openings within the department. He said because Wykoff requires firefighters to live and/or work within a certain radius of Wykoff, this sometimes creates a constraint on finding enough applicants. He said some cities have eliminated the radius requirement, and instead use an “accountability” standard. He said Chatfield does it this way, adding, “They went without a radius, and they went to a percentage of calls made, percentage of trainings made, and percentage of meetings made. As long as you’re meeting that criteria, they don’t care if you live 50 miles from the fire hall.”
There was discussion of how such an accountability standard could be designed, so it would allow for reasonable or excusable absences such a vacations. Baker said in a small town fire department, sometimes if a firefighter is on vacation for just one or two weeks out of a year, this can end up including a fairly large percentage of the actual fire calls for the year. No formal action was taken by the council on this issue, but it will be considered for future action.
The council discussed guidelines for the city’s available EDA loan funds. The council voted to use a 2.5% interest rate, and agreed upon repayment terms based on loan amount, as well as a late fee. The meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m. The council’s next regular meeting will be Monday, July 8 at 7 p.m.