N. Sycamore residents question project assessments

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Plans are in motion to see the fountain at Fountain Park brought back to working order.

     The Monticello City Council approved the ordering of repair components before the first of the year to avoid any price increases. In addition, having expenses in 2018 would also allow the city to utilize Parks and People funding, which amounts to $5,400. That funding has to be used before Dec. 31, 2018.

     During the Dec. 3 council meeting, City Administrator Doug Herman provided an update on project funding to date. Donations made by individuals toward the fountain project are at $11,000. Grants total about $20,000.

     “It’s gone well,” Herman said of the fundraising for phase one of the project, which is projected to cost around $52,000.

     Herman said there is also $12,300 in the Aquatic Center Capital Campaign fund that has yet to be spent on the aquatic center itself.

     “It’s at the city’s disposal to use in relation to that area,” Herman said.

     Council member Dave Goedken questioned whether the city needed to go out to bid/seek competitive quotes for phase one. Herman said the project is not at the threshold needed to do so.

     Pending additional donations/grants, the city could be asked to commit $12,000 to $15,000 toward the project.

     Herman said the fountain project committee plans to meet in January to discuss direct mail pieces to target certain individuals/organizations.

     Property owners on N. Sycamore Street approached the council regarding assessments associated with the project.

     The council did approve a Special Assessment Credit Policy related to sidewalks and driveway approaches. There is a caveat, however, for those who replaced all or a portion of their sidewalk on N. Sycamore. If your entire sidewalk or any panels were replaced within the past three years, you will be credited.

     Nick and Sonya Zimmerman and Dave Oldaker all questioned sidewalk replacement/assessments.

     Oldaker said he replaced his entire sidewalk at a cost of over $4,000 after receiving a letter from the city concerning the condition of his sidewalk. “I shouldn’t have to pay anything (to have it replaced again as part of the project) because I was told I had to do it,” he said. “I followed the city’s rules versus those who haven’t even touched their sidewalk yet.”

     The council agreed.

     Nick Zimmerman questioned why he had to put in a paved driveway following the N. Sycamore project when other streets in town still allow owners to have gravel driveways.

     Zimmerman and his wife said if they planned to live in their house for 10 years, they’d gladly pave their drive and take full advantage of the city’s 10-year assessment plan. However, they don’t plan to remain in their house that long.

     “I don’t feel paving my driveway adds value to my home at this time,” Zimmerman said, after consulting a realtor. “And it’s not in my budget to replace the entire drive. My house doesn’t justify a $4,000 to $6,000 driveway, as well as many others on N. Sycamore.”

     Zimmerman said even if his family move before the 10-year payback timeframe, he wouldn’t feel comfortable asking the new owner to take over the assessment payments.

     Zimmerman said if the city is going to mandate that all gravel drives citywide be paved, he would understand. But he’s not seeing that as the case. “I’d like to see the entire town replaced, or change your code,” he said.

     “Not everyone is made of money,” Council member Brenda Hanken said. She felt the council forcing N. Sycamore residents to pave their drives is not fair to everyone.

In other city business:

     Hanken, again, left the council meeting early at 7:40 p.m. The council meeting lasted until close to 9 p.m.

     Goedken openly questioned Hanken on her early departure. No excuse of her absence was given.

     At the close of the meeting, Mayor Brian Wolken inquired as to whether the council would be open to changing the meeting dates/times. The council unanimously disagreed, stating the first and third Monday at 6 p.m. worked fine.

     • The council passed the third and final reading of the Transient Merchants ordinance to allow food trucks to operate. Hanken was opposed.

     Some changes were made following the second reading. There is a prohibition on First St. and Cedar St. for food trucks unless prior approval is given. Food trucks are allowed on private property with permission. The city will look at modifying the no-parking ordinance on Plastic Lane to allow Holly Trevino to operate her food truck in that location to serve the industrial park.

     The council also set the fees for food trucks: $100 for two days or less, $175 for two days to six months, and $250 for six months to a year.

     Hanken’s issue with the ordinance concerned Trevino’s operation in competition with Legacy Lanes near the industrial park. “That (the industries) is a big part of their business,” she said of the bowling alley. She encouraged Trevino to look into serving during third shift; however, Trevino said she’s not looking to serve strictly at night. “Not all individuals go to Legacy Lanes,” she said.

     “There is nothing wrong with free enterprise,” added Goedken of allowing Trevino to operate on Plastic Lane.



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