The Hiawatha City Commission met Monday evening, revisiting the topic of the City Streets Sales Tax project, and concerns over the quality of the work performed.

Engineer Jason Hoskinson of BG Consultants was present via Zoom to discuss concrete coring on Miami Street when the topic of rebar placement was brought up by Commissioner Brian Shefferd. The discussion centered around photos taken by Shefferd and others brought to the city by resident Richard Tesoriero, which appear to show rebar resting on gravel beneath the concrete, rather than midway through the pour.

Hoskinson said he will need to review the pictures, and there was more discussion about meeting with Tesoriero to gather all the necessary documentation. Hockinson also indicated that once he has had a chance to look over the pictures and discuss with city employees, he will begin a dialogue with AHRS if necessary. When pushed for a final recourse if the rebar is, in fact, improperly placed, Hockinson said it would likely mean tearing out and replacing the affected concrete if it is out of spec.

Brenda Bolden requested to commission for help saving the Bethel African Methodist Church on 4th and Pottawatomie from demolition. The building has been cited for violations of the Minimum Housing Code. Bolden said that not only is the church a part of black history, it also a part of Hiawatha’s history, and that she believes that it deserves to be saved. She also said that she would, along with the Historical Society, be willing to help maintain the building. Mayor Bill Collins said that because Bolden does not own the property, there is not a lot the city can do to help. Code Enforcer Dave Wilson said that because the information is available to the public, that he would give Bolden the name of the current owner of the property.

The commission held a Public Meeting to present and discuss the alternatives for wastewater collection system improvements. There were no public comments, and the commission moved on to approve Resolution 2021-04 and 2021-05 preparing for the work, as well as a contract with CDBG administrative services, and a fiscal sustainability plan for the project.

There was also a formal hearing for violations of the Minimum Housing Code at the property at 502 Pottawatomie Street. Due to a recent ownership change, the hearing was delayed from the previous city commission meeting in order to notify the new ownership. With no one attending the meeting to present a case for the property, the commission voted to move forward with abating the property, giving the owner until 5 p.m. on Oct. 25 to repair, remove or demolish the property.

In other business:

The commission presented Years of Service awards to Officers Dustin Winters and Brandon Lowe of the Hiawatha Police Department.

The commission approved a Structure Demolition Application and Agreement submitted by Tony Hyde, and moved the property to the top of the city’s demo list as he has already presented his payment, and also confirmed Patrick Sheldon as a new volunteer firefighter, as well as agreeing to solicit bids for repair and replace of a broken air condition in the Fisher Center loft and for the city’s work comp policy.

The group approved a bid of $14,500 from Rainbow Fireworks, Inc. for the 2022 fireworks display, and a bid of $8,240 for generator installation and plumbing from Eagle Sundown Services. The Commission also revisited the discussion of the property near the Best Western, and agreed to work up a contract for selling the property to the proposed buyer for the price of $3,060, which is the price of a drainage tube that will be installed.

The commission approved the Consent Agenda, which included utility refunds in the amount of $183.03, payments to Olsson in the amounts of $96,763.45, $9,673.45, and $15,429.80, payment to Crawford, Murphy & Tilly in the amount of $3,000.00, a payemnt to J&B Contractors LLC in the amount of $38,787.50 and a payment to Brown County Road & Bridge Department in the amount of $34,854.97.

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