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City makes a third offer on drainage easement issue PDF Print E-mail

By Jan Schultz

The Imperial Republican

A third offer for storm sewer easement access across private property will be offered by the city to a private property owner on whose land a drainage ditch was constructed.
An initial $1,500 offer to Frenchman Valley Produce for the 20-foot wide, 58-foot long drainage ditch has now grown to $3,500. The drainage ditch was built as part of the Sage Addition/West 12th St. paving project completed last year.
After an hour in closed session at the end of Monday’s city council meeting, a 4-0 vote increased the offer to $3,500 to owner Tim May with a Monday 3 p.m. deadline.
An $1,500 offer in March was rejected, but a counter-offer from May’s attorney of $2,500 was made to the city in April, setting a May 15 deadline.
However, the city didn’t respond formally until June 11, accepting the $2,500 after the deadline because, in part, a title search was being conducted, said City Clerk/Administrator Jo Leyland
A Sept. 10 letter from May’s attorney, Joel Burke, indicated a larger purchase price for the easement was now justified based on new information they had received, and made another counter offer of $35,000.
That led to Monday’s closed session and the resulting $3,500 offer from the city.
In addition to the counter offer, council members also passed a resolution Monday on a 4-0 vote that exercises the city’s “power of eminent domain,” stating it is “necessary for the city to obtain the easement real estate to provide for the public health and safety” with the drainage of runoff waters.
The resolution gives the mayor and city attorney the authority to file a lawsuit in county court “to exercise the city’s eminent domain authority.”
May attended the council’s Aug. 21 meeting with concerns about the $34,548.98 assessment he received related to the street paving project.
May’s land along the paved street, for which he was assessed, is zoned agricultural which can be deferred from paying street assessments as long as it remains ag-zoned.
However, Leyland said May did not file the necessary request for deferral by the deadline, or 90 days after the Street Improvement District was created in February 2013.
Participating in the closed session Monday night were all four council members, Mayor Dwight Coleman, City Attorney Josh Wendell, Leyland, Public Works Supt. Pat Davison and Police Chief Ryan Wisnieski.

Other council business
Three applications have been received for the administrator position at Imperial Manor and Parkview/Heights, according to a report from interim administrator Mike Harris. He said two more inquiries had been received for the job open since Peggi Davidson resigned in August. He said there will likely close the application process in a couple of weeks with their goal being “to hire the best candidate” possible.
Two properties formerly declared as nuisances by the council were rescinded on 4-0 votes on recommendation from the city’s nuisance officer Karl Elmshauser. Those properties as 220 Park and 640 Wellington have abated the nuisance issues, he said. Elmshauser said their office is continuing to monitor the progress of 19 properties in various stages of the nuisance process.
A recommendation will be made to the Liquor Control Commission supporting the Imperial VFW Post’s request to extend its liquor license to the 12 x 15-foot outside smoking area they added recently.
On an Imperial Chamber of Commerce request, the city voted 4-0 to approve $1,500 from economic development sales tax dollars to support the holiday Shop Imperial campaign. The chamber earmarks $1,000 for the promotion, as well.


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