Mount Carroll City Council
Considers Building Demo, Garbage Collection Proposal
By JOHN HUGGINS | For The Prairie Advocate News
MOUNT CARROLL – A lengthy discussion regarding various buildings in disrepair took place at the October 9 Mount Carroll City Council meeting. All council members, except Alderman Jim Rose, were present. After a brief report on the status of the property at 113 N. Mill Street, the conversation turned to the commercial building on the south east corner of N. Mill and W. Market Streets. The west wall of the building has deteriorated to a dangerous condition.
“We can fix it and take ownership, but how do we get the money?” asked Mayor Carl Bates. “The most important thing is safety. The next important thing is in understanding how does it get paid back. How it gets paid back is just sell the building. This takes time.”
When asked his opinion on what the council should do, City Attorney Ron Coplan said, “I think the council needs to make a discussion, knowing that the cost is going to be significant. I am guessing $75,000 or more.”
“Can we force the repair if we give a building permit?” asked Bates. “I’m just trying to figure out how we force communication in some way to reach some middle ground. He owns the building, he repairs the building. He needs to provide engineer drawings and request a building permit. From there it goes to the zoning officers. If they don’t sign it, it comes to the council. I can issue it without approval. But I would prefer that we had some council buy-in before I would sign it.”
“The council did approve his contractor,” Coplan continued, “and we did have the structural engineer approve the fix. And then, when it met some resistance to the historic preservation side of it, the approval was disregarded.”
Alderman Doug Bergren reported that the historic preservation committee did not like the idea of it being repaired with a concrete wall, rather than bringing it back to its original state. “It was bantered about here that, if Mr. Haas would contribute what his contracted amount was for the half-way repair job, and the city could pick up the difference with TIF money,” said Bergren. “I would much rather see it repaired properly to maintain some type of value to that building.”
“I do believe the value would take a big hit if it was repaired as proposed,” interjected Bates. “The reason he needs a building permit is because it is required, since it would be encroaching on city property. We would have to agree to deed a foot of city property.”
In response to a question of if the mayor sees that the owner had any incentive to do anything, the Mayor declared, “No, I don’t . . . If the city is going to do it, I am NOT going to support band-aiding it with the concrete proposal.”
After discussing the costs and ramifications of demolishing the building, no one seemed interested in pursuing that option at this time.
There are people living on the second floor,” noted Bergren. “Can we have it condemned and have them move out?”
Coplan stated, “I think, based on the structural engineers report, yes.”
“Good things are happening to the downtown,” said Alderman Mike Risko. “We’ve got to do something to support the downtown. We’ve got to move forward. We’ve got to do what it takes to get Mr. Haas moving.”
A notice for repair or demolish was sent by Attorney Coplan in August and he has received no response. The council voted unanimously to authorize Coplan to pursue the lawsuit.
Garbage Collection RFP
The Solid Waste Committee met on Wednesday, Oct. 3 to iron out a final draft of a request for proposals (RFP’s) seeking quotes for the collection and disposal of residential solid waste, recyclables, and yard waste. Currently, the city contracts with Moring Disposal Inc. for its solid waste removal. That contract is set to expire this December.
The new contract will begin on January 1, 2013 and last for three years. Included in the terms of the services are the curbside collection of garbage and refuse, recyclable material, and yard waste with a special note to add discarded Christmas trees. Also listed in the proposal are curbside bulky waste cleanup to take place in the spring and fall of each year.
Alderman Doris Bork presented the final draft of the RFP. The release of the proposal passed with all ayes.
Approved the purchase of a Sharp network copier for City Hall for $3778 from SBM Business Equipment Center. The expense will be split from the budgets of all departments.
Heard a report from Lou Schau of the Mount Carroll Community Development Corporation (CDC) regarding the façade work to the Market Street Commons building. Shau assured that the scaffolding would be down before the first snowfall.