Exchange of Real Estate Ordinance Clears the Way for Rubble Removal
By LYNNETTE FORTH | For The Prairie Advocate News
LANARK – It’s official. During the last meeting of the Lanark City Council, final approval was given to go ahead with the exchange of real estate between the City of Lanark and Amy Barnes, owner of Isenhart Realty. Ordinance #880 was unanimously approved, with each side being required to purchase title insurance.
Kevin Barnes voiced some discouragement with the tax agreement portion of the ordinance, stating “Why would you hold us responsible for the 2014 taxes if you cannot guarantee it will be done in a month?”
Mayor Huggins responded by stating “If we leave in the taxes due for 2013, and take out the 2014 taxes . . . I would be willing to do that”.
City Clerk Jackie Hawbecker stated that she has received some questions from residents wanting to know how much parking the old City Hall building has. Mayor Huggins answered “None. I think people are assuming that the building comes with a Municipal parking lot, but it does not. The lot goes from Carroll St. to the alley down the middle of the block. It is 30 feet wide by 60 feet long”.
Following the approval by council members to give a credit of the 2014 tax amount, Barnes told City Attorney Ed Mitchell that she would like to close on the property next week. Building demolition is slated to begin on February 3rd, but is very flexible. The terms for both the city getting title to 107 N. Broad, and Barnes acquiring the old City hall building, is “as is.”
Continuing, Council approved the minutes from the November 19th council meeting, as well as the finance report, and the Treasurer’s reports.
Attorney Ed Mitchell reported on blighted buildings, informing Aldermen that papers were served on the Fox property on November 12th. The bank has released the lien on the Gilbert property, and Mitchell commented that he has received a few phone calls inquiring about the property. “Hopefully something will happen,” Mitchell replied.
City Treasurer Michelle Barnes questioned a bill received from the Illinois Department of Transportation, not sure if the bill was from work done on Route 73. Clerk Hawbecker responded “This is the first bill I have seen.”
Barnes also reported that she had a bill from Scott’s Electric for a light fixture repair on the back of the Heritage Center. The amount due is $156.88. Barnes wondered whether she should submit payment, or if the bill is the responsibility of the Heritage Center.
“Scott should be paid regardless,” Alderman Mark Macomber replied. Discussion took place over where the payment should come from, with council members ultimately deciding to submit a total payment of $1,403.00 which included past work to Scott’s Electric, and will decide about the Heritage Center’s portion at a later date.
Council then approved a contract for the demolition of 105/107 Broad Street. The Northern Illinois Service Company had submitted a bid of $85,900.00 on February 1st, 2013. Approval was granted by the council.
Also, a Streets and Property committee meeting with Nick Wagner and Sharon Peppin was recently held, with a contract being presented for the consideration for work to be done on Blair Parkway and the East lift station. Aldermen decided to table any decision for now, allowing for more information to be gathered. MSA representative Steve Haring also informed council members that he would like to sit down with Public Works Director Les Guenzler, who is planning to retire in 2014, and go through his notes and files, to prepare a database with all needed information. The cost for this service would be $1,600.00, with council members granting approval.
A resident questioned the council about the demolition and clean-up of the properties at 105-107 Broad, asking “Do you have any ideas for what to do after the demolition? With buildings in disrepair, does the City have anything to help stop this from happening again?”
Mayor Huggins replied, “In the Spring through Western Illinois University, we will be doing a MAPPING project, we are hoping to have that as a project”.
Mayor Huggins reported to the council that he would encourage them to sit down and go through the International Building Codes’ Property Management ordinances when they have time.
Director of Public Works Les Guenzler reported that he received a quote for a pump on the southside lift station. Mayor Huggins questioned, “How old is the pump we have now?”
Macomber responded “5 years?” Aldermen discussed options, and ultimately decided the best idea would be to purchase a new one, at the cost of $3,133.00.
Mayor Huggins commented that he would like to see the City purchase a letter folder for the office, with the addition of the newsletters being sent out. “It would make it a lot easier.” Macomber commented that he has heard a lot of positive feedback concerning the newsletters.
Clerk Hawbecker asked the council if the city is required to offer insurance to employee family members. Recently, she had someone inquiring about it. “We offer it, if they pay for it,” replied Alderman Anne Lindsay. “I don’t think it is mandatory,” Attorney Mitchell said.
With no further business, the meeting was adjourned, with the next regular council meeting scheduled for December 17th, in the City Hall.