City Council meets new K-9 officer

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By KIP CHEEK

Staff writer

MENDOTA – The Mendota City Council awarded a street maintenance bid and met the newest member of the Mendota Police Department at the council’s regular meeting on July 6.

Mayor David Boelk said the city received two bids for its 2021 non-motor fuel tax street maintenance program and the council accepted the bid of Advanced Asphalt Company of Princeton in the amount of $161,119. Work to be done will include Burlington Street curb and gutter and also the Welland Road pavement.

In other action from the Mayor’s Report, the council approved the appointment of Al Engels as the city building inspector.

Police Chief Greg Kellen introduced a new member of the police force – Johnny the K-9 officer. Johnny’s handler is Officer Josh Sarver. Johnny and Officer Sarver recently completed a four-week training session in Iowa. Johnny will be ready to officially hit the streets after receiving state certification.

Kellen informed the council that solar-powered speed limit signs were recently erected near the swimming pool and Strouss Park. Kellen said the signs contain built-in iCloud technology that emits data to the police department. He indicated that there has already been a reduction in speed violations in that area of town.

Kellen asked for the council’s approval to install two more of the signs around Blackstone School. Two signs cost approximately $8,400 and will be paid for by the police department. The council agreed to the request.

In Aldermanic Reports, Jim Fitzpatrick announced bid letting for the 2021 motor fuel tax street maintenance program, which is the asphalt portion of the program. Bids will be opened on July 19.

The council heard concerns from several members of the audience.

Louis Kleckner, who lives in the 1000 block of Washington Street, asked that the city consider an ordinance allowing residents to maintain a bee hive in the city limits. Currently, there is an ordinance that forbids having a bee hive in the city. Kleckner said that an online petition has 340 signatures for allowing bee hives, 94 of which are from Mendota. A committee will meet to consider the request.

Matt Kunz, whose wife has gotten a license to run a daycare in their home on Peri Drive, said that the Department of Children & Family Services is requiring them to put up a fence or barrier along the creek that runs behind their house to prevent children from getting into the creek. He indicated that the city building inspector denied allowing a fence to be put up in that area because it’s in the flood plain. Kunz continued that he put up his own non-permanent barrier and was told by the city that it also had to be removed.

It is planned to have a FEMA representative meet with the new building inspector on the matter, but in the meantime, Kunz was instructed to move the non-permanent barrier out of the flood plain and closer to his house until a variance can be considered.

Rachel Kennedy, who lives in the 1700 block of Augustine Avenue, also presented a fence issue to the council. She said there are wild animals that dig around her property, particularly under a shed on the property, and she would like to put a fence around the shed to keep the animals out. Kennedy said she was told that any material that contains the word fence would need a permit before it can be considered allowable.

She asked that the council consider amending the current ordinance to allow small fencing to be erected on property without having to get a permit. Mayor Boelk agreed that the fencing ordinance needs to be refined. Kennedy was given permission to put up the fence around the shed and the council will consider amending the ordinance.

The next regular meeting of the Mendota City Council will be Monday, July 19 at 5:30 p.m.