City buys Hughes’ property for demolition

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Two months following a closed session to discuss the purchase of property, the Monticello City Council approved the city’s purchase of the Al Hughes’ home at 224 N. Chestnut St.

     During the June 5 council meeting, the purchase price of $10,000 was part of that approval.

     “Negotiations (for the purchase price) started at less than $10,000,” offered City Administrator Doug Herman. “We negotiated quite a bit on this.”

     Out of that, Hughes will be responsible in paying $4,326 in tax sale certificates, $106.15 for the city water bill, $15.20 for the transfer of taxes, and $300 for the Jones County Abstract. After these expenses, the total paid to Hughes would be $5,252.65.

     Once the city becomes the owner of the property, a request will be made to abate all other taxes. The city would be responsible for demolition, clearing of the lot, and maintenance until the lot is sold. The city will repair or see to the repair of the water shut-off at the curb. As owner, the city will also be responsible for the fee to HCH Real Estate for representing the city on the purchase.

     Hughes will also have salvage rights on the house until July 2, and salvage rights on the attached garage until Sept. 1.

     Herman said once the structure is demolished, the council could take steps on proposals for the lot and decide what would make the most sense at that location.

     This issue stems from a house fire in March at this location. The damage was so extensive, the house was ruled a total loss.

     Herman said the benefit in having the city take ownership is to see that the demolition happens fairly quickly, and the city would recoup its costs with the future, best use of the property.

     The Monticello Regional Airport is expanding. The council approved a bid to construct a 10-T hangar at $656,736.80 from Schaus Vorhies in Fairfield, Iowa. They were the low bidder by about $60,000.

     Ten planes would be stored inside the new hangar, which will be built next to the current 10-T hangar on the east side of the property. (The cement slab was poured in place last fall.)

     The city received $600,000 in funding for this project from the FAA. Herman said the remaining funds would come from the city’s airport budget.

     City Council member Tom Yeoman said the Airport Board approved rent at $125 a month to store a plane inside. Much of the space has already been spoken for.

     Many of Schaus Vorhies’ subcontractors are local businesses: Monk Construction, B&J Excavating, Accent Construction, and REM Electric.

In other city business:

     • Diane Ruchti, a new resident to Monticello on S. Chestnut St., addressed the council during the Open Forum regarding amending the rear yard fence ordinance. Ruchti said she would like to build a 6-foot fence on the city right of way line. Currently, a 4-foot fence is permitted on the ROW line. But Ruchti said her dog could easily jump it.

     Herman said the council could modify its ordinance, which would take three readings. He will have something for the council to consider at their next meeting.

     • The council approved a pay request for $94,687.59 to Eastern Iowa Excavating and Concrete for work related to the Main Street manhole project.

     • The council approved a pay request for $26,884.19 to Eastern Iowa Excavating and Concrete for work related to Main Street sewer main repairs and relocation near Monticello Family Dentistry.

     • The council approved the purchase of 210 chairs as well as three chair racks from Welter Storage and Equipment for use in the Community Building. The total comes to about $5,000.

     • The council denied sewer usage credits to residents living in a duplex at 525 S. Maple St. Herman said the water entered the city sewer system, therefore making the request ineligible.

     The council did approve a sewer usage credit for a resident at 925 Southhaven Dr. Public Works Director Brant LaGrange said in this case it’s highly unlikely the water entered the sewer system.

     Sewer usage credits are one-time requests.

     • The council voted against participating with the county in a crack sealing/sealer binding project on Hardscrabble Road due to the increase in the city’s cost estimate.

     Herman noted that when he spoke with County Engineer Derek Snead in early March he was given an estimate of $4,500 for the city’s share. As plans have progressed, the city’s share jumped to $8,307. This cost also includes traffic control and mobilization of the contractor.

     The city sought a bid for just crack sealing the city’s portion of Hardscrabble at $1,638.

     • The council approved the first reading of an urban chicken ordinance. The proposed ordinance would allow for six chickens, no roosters, construction standards for a coop, and odor maintenance, among other requirements. The owner would also have to complete a class on raising urban chickens, which Herman said could be omitted if the council chooses in the second or third readings.

     • The council approved the first reading to repeal the city’s previous fireworks permit requirement. The city will fall in line with the state’s new fireworks law, which went into effect June 1.

     The council will approve the second and third readings at the June 19 meeting.


Subscriber Login