Lanark City Council Seeks Appraisals Before Approving Building Swap
By LYNNETTE FORTH | For The Prairie Advocate News
LANARK – Lanark City Council met on September 17th for a regular meeting in City Hall. All aldermen were present. Approval was granted for the minutes from the September 3rd meeting, as well as the finance report.
Mayor John Huggins commented that the joint review board meeting is on hold right now, and asked Clerk Jackie Hawbecker if the audit was close to completion. Hawbecker replied, “It’s just a matter of time.”
Alderman Tom Kocal reported on the status of blighted buildings within the city, stating, “At the Streets and Properties meeting, we discussed going back to the original bid to demolish the properties at 105 and 107 North Broad Street. We also discussed cleaning up 101, but not doing anything about siding on Miller’s building. Another recommendation was to exchange properties - Amy Barnes’s Isenhart Realty at 107, with the former City Hall building.”
Kocal urged the council to voice their opinion on the topics. Council members discussed needing an appraisal for the old City Hall building.
“We have to decide where to go from here. We can’t get the cart before the horse by demolishing without having a solution,” Kocal continued.
“The important thing is getting that mess cleaned up and getting the safety issue rectified,” said Alderman Ken Weaver. “I say we make it official. Get it done. Swap the two buildings.”
“No way. Not without an appraisal,” Alderman Ed Fehlhafer rebutted.
Kocal reminded council of the unusual circumstances around this dilemma. The two separate properties at 107 and 105 are actually one building. “This situation is not Amy’s fault. Her property at 107 is fine. 105 is the problem.”
City Attorney Ed Mitchell informed council members of the options for selling real estate.
Weaver replied, “There are different ways to do an appraisal. To me, it’s how long you want this to go on.”
Fehlhafer added “If you get appraisals by the next meeting, we could make a decision then”.
“That’s very optimistic,” Weaver said.
“It’s going to have to be appraised as is. I think one appraisal should be plenty,” Kocal added. Weaver mentioned that a second opinion would be very nice to have, to which Weston Burkholder agreed. Members approved a motion to obtain two certified appraisals on the properties as is.
Resident and business owner Jeri Beverley informed the council that she recently had a customer trip and fall, but escaped without injury. “I just wanted you to know it happened”. Beverley stated.
Jeri also spoke to council members in regard to having the property at 124 East Carroll to be reduced from two water bills, to one. The ground level is the home of The Hollow Fence Post. Beverley stated that she had been living in one of the two apartments, and rented out the other, but that is no longer the case.
“There is no one living in the apartment anymore, so I would ask that the bill be reduced to one water bill and one garbage tote. I don’t want the water shut off.” Alderman Anne Lindsay stated “To eliminate problems, we should shut off the water in the apartment not being used.”
Beverley replied “If you want to put a meter on it, you will see that $120.00 is not reasonable for someone not using water for the apartments.”
Lindsay replied “It’s there, it could be used.”
Clerk Hawbecker responded “The apartment building across the street has four apartments and are only being billed for three. Basically what Jeri is asking, is to make it one unit. Norm Brinkmeier did that too.”
Weaver stated “I think that is a reasonable request.” Kocal made a motion to allow 124 East Carroll Street to be reverted to one single property and to receive one water bill. Council members Lindsay and Fehlhafer voted no, Burkholder abstained, and Mayor Huggins cast the deciding yes vote. Motion approved.
Moving on with agenda items, approval was granted to allow for the final payment to be made to Law Excavating in the amount of $23,295.77 for the Argyle St. storm sewer project. Engineer Mike Leslie of Willette/Hofmann reported that as of 3:00 p.m., there had been no rain reported in the Preston basement, stating that he does not believe that the water problem stems from a construction issue, therefore, Law’s payment should not be withheld.
Mayor Huggins spoke on the proposed Surplus Item Sale that the City is planning to hold in the future, but the list is not currently ready. Fehlhafer questioned the sale of a John Deere tractor, stating “When the East lift station project is done, the tractor could potentially be sold.” Fehlhafer listed several items that he knew of that could possibly go on the list.
Burkholder asked for a list of sale items to be given to each council member for review. Janie Dollinger of the Library spoke regarding the upcoming sale that the Library is planning for October 10th, stating “Most of the items we will be selling won’t bring more $10.00. Is there something special that I need to do legally? I have stuff to be brought down from the old City Hall building with the City’s bucket loader. If it rains could we have it in the City building?” Council agreed.
Dollinger reported that the Police Department will receive first chance to have any old equipment, with the Maintenance Department being second in line. Dollinger also reported happily, “Ed Stern pulled all the weeds along the Hart building. It was a nice surprise to see.”
Attorney Mitchell commented that the City has been receiving bills from a company claiming that Les Guenzler ordered a bunch of items, and they have not received payment. Guenzler stated that he did not order any items, and refused them from U.P.S. Mitchell sent a letter to the company, informing them that they will not be receiving any money.
Fehlhafer questioned Mayor Huggins as to whether an invoice had been received yet on the work done at the corner of Carroll and Broad Streets. “Can we push it a little?” Fehlhafer questioned. Fehlhafer also proudly informed council members that he would be taking the “Honor Flight” to Washington D.C. on October 1st.
Burkholder reported that Mike Carroll informed him that he will not be able to start tuck pointing on the Heritage Center until spring.
Mayor Huggins informed the council that there is an Illinois statute requiring a flag be displayed at City Hall. Council members discussed where to put the flag, and decided to have Ed Fehlhafer get information on the purchase.
City Treasurer Michelle Barnes told council members that she had begun working full time for Rhett Coatney at COUNTRY Financial, but would continue to do her job for the city as well.
The meeting adjourned at 8:25 p.m. The next meeting of the Lanark City Council is scheduled for October 1st at 7:30 p.m, with the public encouraged to attend.