City council topics include food trucks, geese, golf carts

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By Shelia Tomkins

The Guttenberg city council at its regular monthly meeting on July 8 revisited the food truck issue, discussed the geese population and aired complaints about golf carts and ATVs.

Mayor Bill Frommelt led councilmembers Mick Pierce, Austin Greve, Fred Schaub, Virginia Saeugling and Jane Parker through the evening's agenda. Also present at the council table were City Manager Denise Schneider and City Attorney Michael Schuster.

Food trucks

Discussion continued from last month's meeting on the mayor's proposal to encourage food trucks by waiving vendor fees. The food truck topic dominated numerous council meetings last year prior to passage of an ordinance that set vendor fees. No one has applied for a vendor permit this year. 

The mayor said his goal was to draw food truck followers to the community and to the downtown area. "I think we can bring more people into town if we waive fees or lower them substantially," he said.

Saeugling said she had no problem with a food vendor night once a month to get it started, but was opposed to waiving fees for the entire year. Parker commented that she doesn't think there is enough food vendor business to go around unless the community is having a festival. She said she was okay with a food vendor night but not a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Pierce spoke in favor of having food trucks and said, "We are trying to help everybody instead of cripple everybody. I would rather be wrong about this than to do nothing." He said he would agree to a food vendor night to see if there is any interest.

Schaub commented that he is tired of hearing that the city is dying and said, "We have a beautiful town with a new swimming pool, hospital, school and more."  

Greve said the food truck issue was addressed with last year's ordinance and it was time to move on.

Business owner Mike Hefel told the council he thought waiving the fees was a bad idea. He said he spoke earlier that day to a development director from another part of the state and that her message was to "take care of what you have." Hefel believes there is no public interest in food trucks because no one has come to council meetings to speak in favor of having them. "You can't let someone come in and take the cream off the top....There's not a big hoard of people following these people around...Do not bring food trucks in here to take money out of my pocket," he said.

As discussion drew to a close, the mayor posed the question as to whether the council wanted to try a food truck night, and when no one made a motion, the council moved on to the next agenda item. 

Geese issue

The council discussed a recommendation from the Guttenberg Rec Board that the local population of Canada geese be permanently removed.

Various ideas were discussed, ranging from using dogs to discourage geese from frequenting certain areas to euthanasia. The city manager will research solutions and will also contact the Department of Natural Resources for ideas.

Golf carts,  ATVs

Council members voiced concerns about incidents they have witnessed or heard complaints about unsafe and/or illegal behavior by drivers of golf carts, ATVs and UTVs.  

"I'm all for shutting them down unless this stuff doesn't happen," said Pierce. "They need to follow the rules of the roads."

Building demolition

The council approved an ordinance that requires property owners to obtain a city permit prior to demolishing a building. 

Grass clippings in street

It was noted that grass clippings should not be placed or blown onto city streets. The clippings cause problems with the storm sewer system and can also be a hazard for people on motorcycles and bicycles.

Other business

Following discussion on contract details, a payment of $470,322 was approved for invoices submitted by Burbach Aquatics for the pool renovation project. 

The council approved a survey plat of Miner's Creek Campground. The council also instructed the  city manager to proceed in response to a request from Steve Hansel (dba Deep Blue Seafood LLC) to purchase a parcel of city property near the campground.

The council tabled a request to rezone city-owned lots located south of the municipal building, pending more specific plans from the Guttenberg Economic and Industrial Development group.

The council approved an application for a grant for professional services in connection with funding for street work, lighting and infrastructure. 

Tim White was approved as a volunteer firefighter, and Andrew Mitchell as a junior volunteer firefighter.

The sale of a parcel of city property to Dan and TJ Pierce was approved as discussed at previous meetings.

The council approved payment of a portion of the city insurance policy renewal, pending an invoice on the remainder.

The council gave final approval to an ordinance that reduces the number of members on the historical preservation commission from  seven to five.

Dennis Hanna was appointed to the zoning board of adjustment; Mary Waterman to the Riverfront Advisory Board and Kay Bahlmann to Planning and Zoning.

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