By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Property owners in the city’s Sage Addition are enjoying newly paved cement streets, curb/gutter and drainage work.
Now that the contractor has received a final payment on the $1.4 million project, the council started the process of determining property owner assessments.
At Monday’s council meeting, direction was given to the city’s engineer, Miller & Associates, to prepare assessments that are based on both an average of the lot’s area and its front footage.
In meetings as the project was being planned, there was a lot of discussion with property owners on figuring assessments.
In most Street Improvement Districts, assessments are based on the front footage. However, due to the pie-shaped nature of some lots and others with small frontage but large lots, the averaging system was determined to be fairest.
“I’m in favor of staying with that,” said Council member John Arterburn.
Concerning West 12th St., also paved as part of the project, property owners on its north side will be assessed strictly by the frontage, according to the motion.
Property owners will have the option of spreading out their payments over 10 years at 8 percent interest.
While the entire project cost $1.4 million, the paving and other work at the intersections will not be assessed to property owners.
City Clerk/Administrator Jo Leyland said in past Street Improvement Districts, cost of the intersection work was assumed by the city.
Leyland said she has alerted Miller & Associates of the council’s action, and if they can get the assessment calculations together by the June 16 meeting, she will schedule an item on the topic that night.
If so, the council will sit as a Board of Equalization that night. At that time, property owners will have the opportunity to address the assessments.
If the engineers need more time, it will be scheduled for the first meeting in July, she said.
In a related item, the council approved a payment to Werner Construction, general contractor for the project, of $137,827.52. At the engineer’s recommendation, the city did hold out $5,000 from the final bill because Werner has some curb/gutter and associated repairs to complete.
Also approved were payments to Van Kirk Bros. Contracting of $198,059.76 for work in Cornerstone (East 2nd St.), and two payments to Miller & Associates of $2,366.90 and $1,400.76 for work on both project sites.
Other council business
• The east half of Holland St. between 2nd and 3rd Sts., running in front of four new spec homes being built, will be paved with a four-inch cement surface at an estimate of $16,000 to $17,000. Problems with gaps resulted after the laying of curb and gutter on that block. The city will assume the cost of the paving out of its street fund. The original street, which was never engineered, was finished with millings, said Supt. Pat Davison. Other improvements coming in Cornerstone will include grass seeding of 36 acres on the property at a cost of $20,000. The Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) approved use of LB 840 sales tax funds to pay for the seeding as well as Roundup application to kill existing weeds at a May 30 meeting. The council also approved the seeding on a 3-0 vote.
• Recommendation will be made to the Liquor Control Commission to approve a beer off-sale only license for the Frenchman Valley Coop’s new T-Junction facility. Coop Manager Doug Ohlson said the store is expected to open later this month, while the gas pumps were activated on Monday. Customers can make purchases at the pump now, he said, but only by using credit cards or the coop card. The council voted 3-0 to recommend approval. In a related matter, recommendation will also be sent to the Liquor Control Commission to approve Anne Iverson as manager of the VFW Club.
• A brief update on the council committee’s meeting with a rural fire board committee regarding the suburban fire district study was given. Council member Arterburn said it was a good first meeting, but predicts it will be a long process. It’s expected more information will be given at the council’s June 16 meeting after the rural board holds a regular meeting with its members on June 9.
• As a site for a new fire hall is not yet determined, Supt. Davison presented estimates on utility work that would be needed if the Wellington football field is chosen. That property has been offered to the city by the school for $130,000. He estimated a cost of $34,000 for extensions for sanitary sewer, water and electricity upgrades. That’s in addition to $110,000 for suggested drainage improvements in that area.
• A preliminary budget for the Imperial Manor and Parkview/Heights was reviewed with administrator Peggi Davidson and Walt Dye of RHD, the firm managing the facilities. He noted some issues with coding in the current budget, which has affected the financial picture, which show about $50,000 in expenses that should not be there. He said they are working at streamlining the budget documents and those will be in place before the new fiscal year starts July 1. The budget will include some slight salary increases, but Dye noted the new health insurance program offered to employees is costing the facilities $50,000 to $60,000 more per year and provides more benefits, so increases may not be as high. The budget will also include 3 percent room rate increases effective Aug. 1 for private payers. The final 2014-15 budget will be before the council at their June 16 meeting.
• Approval for the Chase County Fair Parade on Aug. 16, which will close a portion of Broadway, was given as the council passed a resolution 3-0.
• A council retreat was set for Tuesday, July 8, starting at 5 p.m. at the Balcony House.