Humboldt council OKs agreement

HUMBOLDT — The Humboldt City Council on Monday authorized Mayor Dan Scholl to sign an agreement with the Iowa Department of Transportation dealing with improvements to the municipal airport.

The agreement is the acceptance of a grant from the DOT to pay for 80 percent of the improvements to the fence and gate. The project has been budgeted for.

The work is not required, but it is strongly recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration, City Administrator Travis Goedken said. The intent is to restrict access to the airport from surrounding property.

Why wouldn’t the FAA help fund the project, Councilman Kirk Whittlesey asked.

“They would, however, we used their funds for the snow removal equipment,” Goedken said.

In the spring, the city purchased a tractor equipped for snow removal from K.C. Nielsen Ltd., of Humboldt, for $223,175. FAA money was used to help pay for it.

The city is also considering applying for FAA funds for required work on the runway.

“You should be able to see four feet off the ground at both ends of the runway,” Goedken said. “We don’t meet that line of sight requirement.”

The elevation on part of the airport will need to be raised.

In other business, Chuck Strachan, 811 Second Ave. N., told the council he has had flood and sewage problems for two years now. In 2009 he had a new sewer line put in and it had been working fine until the last few years. A repairman discovered a piece of broken pipe had been lodged, causing the backup. It appears the pipe was broken off and an attempt was made to cover up the mistake.

Although there is no evidence, it could have happened in 2015 during sidewalk work by a contractor. Goedken said it was not the fault of the city, but council members said neither was it the fault of Strachan and they felt the city should at least help with part of the repair bill. Goedken said he would check with the city’s insurance to see if it would be covered.

The council directed Goedken to draft a proposal for dealing with snow emergencies. Currently, the city has no provisions other than prohibited street parking from 3 to 7 a.m four months of the year. Goedken said city employees have asked for such a declaration to get the streets cleared faster during the day. The council proposed Goedken declare a snow emergency prohibiting street parking during snow events, giving the public four hours notice. The downtown area could be exempt, Goedken said.

Councilman Joel Goodell said he could foresee someone working all day and not being able to move their car off the street.

Goedken will bring back a proposal to the council.

The council accepted a quote from Fischer Brothers Enterprises of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, for the interior maintenance and exterior restoration of the slides at the Humboldt Family Aquatic Center in the amount of $50,000. Fischer was the lowest bidder of three.