WAPELLO — A nearly three-decade-old effort to separate the sanitary and storm sewer systems in Wapello has basically been completed, city officials were told Thursday during the city council’s regular meeting.

Speaking during a public hearing on the latest phase of the program, Susan Coffey, administrative director for the Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission, reported on the latest work as part of the city’s $240 Community Development Block Grant.

She told the council the work had included portions on Isett Avenue west of U.S. 61; North Prairie Street between Isett and State; and South Main Street from Spring to Oak streets.

The required report had been scheduled when the project initially was about 50 percent complete, but Coffey indicated it moved forward quickly.

“The project is pretty much complete,” she said, adding the grant itself had a project completion date of March 31, 2022.

She said final asphalt work and landscape work would be completed in the spring.

“And then the project will be complete,” she said.

City officials indicated they had been waiting to hear that for many years.

“It was quite the project,” Mayor Shawn Maine said, suggesting the sewer separation work may have started in 2003 or 2004, about the time an administrative order from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources was filed requiring the separation work.

However, according to the administrative order, which was actually filed by the DNR in 2007 and then apparently updated in 2012, the sewer separation work began in the early 1990s. The order indicated a significant amount of work had been completed by 2006.

“We’re off the DNR list now,” Maine said following Coffey’s report.

In other action, the council held a second public hearing on a proposed budget amendment for Fiscal Year 2020. Officials said there were not comments either for or against the amendment, which later was approved by the council.

The amendment adds $839,500 in spending and $831,543 in revenue to the budget. The $8,017 difference between the revenue and expenditures will be covered by the city budget’s ending balance, which will drop from $915,374 to $907,357.

The additional spending includes the combined sewer work, new fire packs for the fire department and park improvements. In addition to the CDBG grant and a state loan to fund the sewer work, the city also received $142,968 in funding from the Federal Emergency Management Administration for the fire packs.

The council also:


Approved the September 2019 treasurer’s report;
Approved the Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Urban Renewal Report;
Learned workers would return in the spring to repair the intersection at North Prairie and State Street, which had not been properly repaired following the combined sewer work in that area;
Approved a request from the Wapello Visioning Committee to submit a grant proposal to the Community Foundation of Louisa County for seed money to construct a sidewalk on State Street from North Cedar to U.S. 61;
Approved a $250 donation to the Wapello After Prom Party.

The council also directed Wapello Police Chief Brandon Marquardt to meet with city attorney Adam Parsons to rewrite a portion of the city’s ATV/UTV ordinance.

The amendment would allow the units to operate in the city from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. The current rules cite state code, which sets operational hours as sunrise and sunset. The new hours would match the hours recently approved by the Louisa County Board of Supervisors.