City Council members faced a hefty agenda on Monday night. Discussion continued on many topics such as nuisance properties and the community center along with a few new topics.
Library Lawn Improvement
One of the new topics was brought up by Terry Olson, librarian at Secrest Library. Olson gave an update on usage in the library. The library has issued 42 new patron cards since the beginning of the year and checked out thousands of items. Olson also brought the library lawn issues to the council’s attention.
“The library lawn has become a weed patch,” she said.
There has been nothing other than mowing and occasional spraying done since she began as librarian, Olson said.
The solution presented by Olson was killing off the weeds and reseeding the grass. Once the weeds are gone, the library would like to put in a sprinkler system. After looking at estimates for this system, the council voted to allocate $4,200 to the project. The decision of who does the work is up to the library board’s discretion.
Talk about the community center continued on Monday night. Funds from the trust have been deposited in the city’s account and a contract has been signed with JEO Consulting. The steering committee has begun meeting and will convene again before September’s council meeting.
With the time required for the decision and bidding process, it may be April or May of next year before construction on the building could actually begin, council member Beth Goldhammer said.
In other business, the council discussed updates on many properties that have become public nuisance. In addition to those properties, the members also have found more properties that need attention from the owners and decided to begin the process of public nuisance hearings.
Leadership Community Grant
A new grant is being sought by the city council. The grant would provide money for store fronts to be fixed up downtown. Before the city would be eligible for the grant, they must first become a leadership community. The grant also involves drafting a community plan. Steps are being taken to start the process for the grant.
There are some limitations to what the grant money can be used to fix in the downtown area. Since the grant is called the “main street revitalization grant,” it is unclear whether it can be used for all stores in the business district or just for stores on the main street.
If the city does receive the grant, there are more steps to be taken before they would start to use it.
“We would do nothing until we go to all the businesses and ask what do they want done,” council member Kurk Wiedel said.
Upgrades need to be made to a couple of different kinds of city equipment. Chris Fangmeier, city utilities superintendent, spoke with council members about upgrading a skid steer and bucket truck. The council requested more information about getting a used bucket truck, but moved to trade in the skid steer at Hebron Implement.
Another area that needs upgrades are the tennis courts. With many cracks and problems with the court surface, something needs to be done to keep them usable.
Council members decided to research what needs to be done to improve them while they are still in a fixable condition.
Fire Department Update
B.J. Linton, chief of the fire department, told council members that progress is being made on the addition to the fire hall and by the end of next week all the walls should be up. Many public donations were given to make the new addition possible.
In other business, the council members have been approached about the possibility of having more lawn mower races like the one during the Hebron Independence Day celebration. Although the races weren’t a problem, the group decided against insuring the races. If races were to be held, the racers would have to sign some sort of waiver to provide their own insurance if an accident were to happen.
Council also approved the airport authority tax request for the budget year.
A settlement was also reached with James Summers concerning employment. The council will pay health premiums until the first of the year. After that date, there will be no salary or benefits.
The group will continue discussion on Hebron Activity Center manager fees and dilapidated houses at the September meeting. Due to the holiday, the meeting will be held September 5.