■ Fire hall petitions submitted; council accepts rural board cost-sharing. PAGE 1.
By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
After delaying action earlier this year, East 3rd St. in the Cornerstone property will now be developed, but not with concrete as originally discussed.
The city council approved the recommendation from the Citizens Advisory Committee to gravel East 3rd from Holland to Orsa and between 2nd and 3rd Sts. on Orsa, with curb and gutter on both.
In addition, those streets will have utilities and infrastructure added.
An engineer’s estimate on the project is $428,000. Of that total, $200,000 will be used from current LB 840 sales tax funds in the city account. The rest or an estimated $250,000, will come from a 10-year bond to be paid for by future sales tax and other income.
One of the conditions before the street improvement starts is a that a developer must commit to building multiple homes on that street by Jan. 1, 2017.
East 3rd St. improvement was discussed the past year, but concerns arose about future sales tax income due to the Unicameral’s passage of legislation that removed ag repair parts from sales tax.
That law change is expected to bring in at least $20,000 less in city sales tax per year. The law becomes effective Oct. 1.
Jason Tuller, the city’s economic development director, said additional TIF funds estimated at $25,000 per year from the 14 houses being built in Cornerstone now can help make the bond payments.
City Clerk/Administrator Jo Leyland said Matt Thomas, who is building the four homes for sale and 10 rentals now in Cornerstone, has indicated his interest in buying lots from the city for more homes along 3rd St. if it’s developed.
During the discussion, council member Dave Fulton said he’s been asked by some local residents if there have been any stipulations put on Thomas’ projects to buy material in the community.
“We strongly suggested it,” said Mayor Dwight Coleman.
Leyland said he did get bids from some local contractors on the four for-sale homes.
Other council business
Tim May addressed the council on concerns he has on an assessment he received on the paving of West 12th St., as well as an easement for drainage related to the street improvements that crosses his property. The land, previously owned by Ron Hegwood, for which he’s been assessed $35,000, is zoned agriculture and is exempt from street assessments, according to statutes. However, he did not file the necessary paperwork within the 90-day time limit for the exemption. He said he was not notified of the deadline and would have filed it if he knew, and was not included, in the legal public notice that was published. City Clerk Jo Leyland said she did later find out the timeline for filing the paperwork and contacted their city attorney, who advised her that the discussion should be between attorneys. May said he did not have an attorney involved when he contacted the city last year regarding the assessment, but did hire Joel Burke later, regarding the drainage issue. May said he has never signed an easement agreement or has received payment for the drainage pipe running across his property. He said there was an agreement for up to $2,500 for crossing his property, but he will not accept anything now. “That pipe might be a really expensive pipe now and it’s trespassing on my property,” he told the council. “It may be a $35,000 pipe.” Mayor Dwight Coleman read a letter from Attorney Burke to City Attorney Josh Wendell on the easement discussion which rejected an initial offer of $1,500 from the city and asked for $2,500, which expired on May 15 this year. No action was taken at Monday’s council meeting.
The Sept. 1 meeting falls on Labor Day, so the council voted to move it to Tuesday, Sept. 2. In other action, they held second reading on the updated city zoning regulations. Possible passage could come at the Sept. 2 meeting.