By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
A new Imperial council member was seated and several residents were reappointed to positions on city boards and commissions Monday.
Monday’s city council meeting will be the only one this month due to the holidays.
Charlesa Kline, who topped two other candidates in the November election, took her seat for the first time on the council, replacing John Arterburn, who chose not to seek re-election.
Arterburn conducted the oaths of office at the start of the meeting, which also involved Mayor Dwight Coleman and council member Chad Yaw, both re-elected in November.
The first action of the new council was election of council president.
Dave Fulton, appointed to the council earlier this year, was unanimously elected. No other nominations were offered. The council president takes the place of the mayor in his absence.
Each December, the mayor has the task of appointing local residents to city boards and commissions. He appointed or reappointed several people Monday night after council approval, including:
Miles Colson, Park & Tree Commission (reappt.)
Jason Francis, Cemetery Board (reappt.).
John Arterburn, Planning Commission (new)
Kelly Hammerlun, Planning Commission (reappt.)
Norma Dannatt, Imperial Housing Board (reappt.)
Matt Hanna and Jan Elliott, Citizens Advisory Committee (reappts.)
Jo Leyland, Imperial Community Redevelopment Authority (reappt.)
Dave Fulton will be the council’s representative on the Southwest Nebraska Solid Waste Agency Board, replacing Arterburn.
Mayor Coleman made special note that 26-year Planning Commission member Nick Schultz chose not to be reappointed after many years of service. Schultz was given a round of applause.
Several other board members whose terms expire in 2014 had not been contacted for possible reappointment prior to the meeting. Coleman will work on filling those seats in the coming weeks.
Council members were also appointed as liaisons to all of the city boards and commissions.
Mobile home park licenses
Action was again tabled on mobile home park license fees, which are being established by way of the new zoning regulations approved last month.
There are four mobile home parks in the city (one has no homes on it now), and each one varies in number of mobile homes it can accommodate.
That led to another option for fee charges in Monday’s discussion to be based on size or square feet of the court.
A $25 annual fee had been proposed, but at the last meeting, a $100 fee was suggested.
The licensing is to start in March 2015 and will come if an exterior inspection of all homes in the park by the building inspector gains approval. To acquire a license, the mobile homes in each park will have to meet minimum requirements such as established skirting, fences repaired and no boarded up windows.
City Attorney Josh Wendell indicated the mobile home park owners would likely be given time to comply if some of the homes do not meet inspection guidelines. It was uncertain whether any grandfathering issues would be a factor, Wendell said.
It was again emphasized the annual fee will be charged to the owners of the parks, not the individual mobile home owners.
Once fees are established, owners of the mobile home parks in the city will receive more detailed information, said City Clerk/Administrator Jo Leyland.
As is his right based on city code, Byron Hust requested a show cause hearing regarding two pieces of his property at 129 West 5th St., which had been declared nuisances in council action in October.
Barrels, machinery, parts and wood planks on the properties were among the violations, based on a report in October by Karl Elmshauser of West Central Nebraska Development District (WCNDD), the city’s nuisance officer.
Hust told the council and mayor he had considered building a structure in the city limits to house those items, but now is taking different action.
“I decided that anytime I am told by a city employee on what I can have on my property as to tools and supplies that I should look for a different location.
“You just lost the tax base of a $165,000 building being built in Imperial,” he said.
He said he will now build the building outside the community.
He also felt it was difficult to get information when just informed by letter that he had 30 days to clean up the nuisance, with no personal contact.
Hust felt certain consideration should be given after he purchased a business building that had been operated 50 years in the city by a former Imperial mayor.
He also noted he has photos of some of the same items he’s been notified as nuisances sitting in the mayor’s yard, as well as others including a previous council president. His items of concern are along an alley, he added, while items on power plant property are visible along a highway coming into Imperial.
He said negotiations are underway to sell his property on West 5th St.
Prior to Hust’s testimony, Elmshauser submitted 17 pieces of evidence into the record, including photos, city code documents and letters sent to Hust.
At the end of the testimony, the council approved a resolution granting Hust 60 days to come into compliance.
On another issue, the council voted to abate the property at Lot #6 in Capitol Court as per Elmshauser’s recommendation. It was declared a nuisance in October with no action resulting.
Elmshauser said there are currently 16 properties being monitored in different stages of the nuisance process.
The council’s next meeting is Jan. 5, 2015.