Easements sought for Sixth St. Ditch project

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Preliminary work is beginning on the City of Monticello’s Sixth Street Ditch Project.

     The city council approved the formation of an agreement between the city and Snyder & Associates to prepare easement acquisition documents related to the ditch rehabilitation project.

     The agreement provides for the creation of five permanent easements and seven temporary easements at a cost of $9,600, the far end pieces of the ditch. If the council decides to proceed with the portion of the ditch between Chestnut Street and N. Cedar Street, there would be an additional nine permanent easements and five temporary easements, at an additional cost of $12,600.

     The council chose to focus their efforts, for now, on the end pieces of the ditch; not the middle section.

     City Administrator Doug Herman said once Snyder prepares the easement documents, they would be reviewed by the city’s legal counsel. From there, they will be sent to all affected landowners.

In other city business:

     • The council directed Herman to put together a policy to require brick placement in lieu of a strip of colored concrete in the downtown commercial district.

     In the 1990s when the city’s downtown streetscape was completed, a strip of colored concrete was installed. Over the years, the city rehabbed some of the brick streets, removing brick. There are plans to remove additional brick from the intersection of Grand and Washington streets. Those bricks would be available for use by property owners to replace the colored concrete strip.

     Herman said the old city bricks that were installed in front of the downtown pocket park have been well received, and have held up quite well.

     Brian Monk is completing the construction of a commercial building on W. First Street. The discussion has been whether Monk should add a colored concrete strip or plan for brick pavers in front of the building. In order to move forward, Herman suggested setting a policy.

     “Brian is agreeable to the bricks, but we don’t have a policy in place,” noted Herman.

     The council agreed that if a business owner needed to replace the sidewalk in front of the business for whatever reason, the bricks pavers would then be required.

     • Work on the city’s new property located at 103 W. First St. is progressing. Herman said the city is working on taking title and will also move forward with an asbestos inspection.

     • Monticello is one of very few cities throughout the state that maintains a 5 percent hotel/motel tax rate. Herman said is the council was interested in increasing that to 7 percent, which seems to be the standard across Iowa, it would require a vote by the public on a ballot.

     “The Boulders (Hotel) ownership did not object,” he said of the proposed increase.

     The council will approve the resolution at its next meeting.

     • Herman asked the council for direction on implementing a building permit application fee, outside of the flat permit fee.

     “Sometime it takes staff quite a bit of time to research an application,” he said.

     Herman said the application fee would be non-refundable and accompany every building application. If the city approved the application, the balance of the permit fee would then be due by the property owner.

     • Casey Reyner with Parks and Rec has been leading several community meetings regarding improvements to the city fountain next to the Aquatic Center. The fountain has not been in operation due to maintenance issues. Herman said the consensus of those attending the meetings is to see the fountain left as is with some repairs.

     As for whether there is a budget for the project, Herman said once the committee has an idea in mind, estimates will be sought and some fundraising could begin.

     “There have been various options in the past but nothing went anywhere,” voiced Council member Dave Goedken.



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