Chestnut Street resident frustrated with state of ‘Zimmerman property’

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     There was a wide variety of business items on the July 19 Monticello City Council agenda.

     But before the council took any action, Eric Eggers, a resident on Chestnut Street, took to the podium during the open forum to inquire about the state of the “Zimmerman property,” the former Hughes property. Eggers said this lot sits across from his house.

     “Has it been four years now?” he asked about the length of time the city sold the lot to Norm Zimmerman.

     “I wish I had a good answer,” offered Mayor Brian Wolken.

     Wolken informed the council that he reached out to the county assessor to see whether the city could assess the costs to the property owner (which is no longer Norm Zimmerman) as if a structure were built on the property. Unfortunately, that option is not a possibility.

     “We could only assess for the work done (on the property),” clarified Wolken.

     Council member Tom Yeoman asked if any city official had been in contact with Zimmerman recently. The answer was “no.”

     Wolken further added that the city’s development agreement several years ago was with Zimmerman, not the current owner.

     “That’s a mistake we won’t make again,” commented Council member Dave Goedken. “We need to make sure the property is not sold before a project is complete.”

     “It’s definitely a thrown in our sides,” Wolken said to Eggers of the current status of the residential building project.

     Eggers suggested perhaps the city issue a series of nuisance violations against the owner.

     “It’s a big weed field across the street (from us),” he said.

In other city business:

   • At the close of the meeting, the council went into a closed session “to discuss the purchase of particular real estate only where premature disclosure could be reasonably expected to increase the price” the city would have to pay for the property.

     • The council approved two pole sign extensions of up to five years for Mission Cup Coffee (138 S. Main St.) and JK Ross (formerly Baked., 101 N. Main St.).

     • The council approved the second readings of three separate ordinances, amending the provisions pertaining to city water, sewer, and storm water rates. Each vote passed 5-1, with Council member Brenda Hanken opposed. Hanken commented that she feels the city has more than enough to cover the cost of the new waste water/sewer plant without raising utility rates.

     “A lot of people questioned how much their rates will go up,” said Goedken, “but they realize it’s a necessity.”

     • City Administrator Russ Farnum updated the council on assisting Jones County Senior Dining in finding a permanent site in Monticello. He said he’s been working with Director Lisa Tallman on some options, including First Presbyterian Church and the Community Building.

     “Conversations are occurring,” he assured the public. “We’ll bring any options to the council for final approval.”

     Goedken said he’s heard from people who are disgusted with the city for not moving faster to help Senior Dining. Goedken also asked why the Berndes Center, which used to house the dining program before they relocated to John McDonald Hospital, was not in consideration.

     “The ball is not in our court,” Farnum said of the ultimate decision of where to house Senior Dining.


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