The Muscatine City Council met for an in-depth meeting April 12. There were three items on the agenda: a discussion of courtesy sidewalks, a presentation on flood preparation, and a building division review.
City Engineer Jim Edgmond informed the council that the city enacted the courtesy sidewalk policy around May 2015, during phase three of the West Hill Sewer Separation project. Edgmond stated that the city had been replacing sidewalks in various locations, unbeknownst to Edgmond’s department. During phase four of this project, the city will not provide courtesy sidewalks in an effort to adhere to city code. The courtesy sidewalks that are currently in place are the homeowner’s responsibility.
Public Works Director Brian Stineman stated that flood season is approaching. The Public Works Department utilizes the National Weather Service to monitor possible flood risk. This system generally gives a week’s notice of possible floods. Muscatine County has two separate gauges to help determine flood risk. The official flood stage is at 16 feet, but precautions are made well before waters reach that level. Once waters reach 20 feet, the Iowa Department of Transportation is alerted. Most closures are in place at 21 feet and the railroad is no longer in use at 22 feet. At 27 feet, water has reached the top of the Muscatine flood wall.
Community Development Director Dave Gobin introduced his predecessor, Steve Baka, and the new certified building official, Mike Stensland. Baka stated that the building codes that Muscatine has in place are also in use in all 50 states, as well as in Mexico, Canada, Australia, and the Caribbean. Stensland, one of 36 certified building officials in the state of Iowa, explained to the council that the permitting process that Muscatine follows is fairly standard. Zonings must match desired building uses and permit applications require review if they are for new or substantially altered buildings. Pre-permit site inspections are only performed when necessary.
Council member Nadine Brockert stated that she would be picking up trash on April 14, between Missterssippis Bar & Grill and Bogey Motors. Council member Kelcey Brackett reminded all of the soapbox derby and people who have pictures from past years to send them to the Facebook page Muscatine Soapbox Derby or to muscatinederby.com. Mayor Diana Broderson stated that the first episode of the new video project would take place April 17.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:16.