Local News

First applicant for LB840 received

Doug and Michelle Modlin of The Bottle Shop are the first applicants for the city’s plan passed last year — the Local Option Municipal Economic Development that sets aside one-third of the city’s sales tax for economic development and awards grants for store facades.  

The Modlins will spend quite a bit more than the $10,000 they applied as they take on a massive project to repair the shop’s roof, HVAC and south wall that was shared with the adjoining building. That building was one of two demolished on North 4th Street.  

A green space and shed to store equipment will be added later. 

Modlin said the application process went well and he enjoyed working with Dennis Dye, the administrator for LB840.

In other news, the council again went through its list of nuisance and potential nuisance properties, including 345 Willard Ave., where an eviction notice was served on the day the city council met, Sept. 4. 

Owner of the house, Larry Mitchell, said the renters were keeping animals — a dead sheep and goat with no water or food in sight were found, and Mitchell said there were rabbits and a hog as well. 

A horse and colt had been removed before the council meeting, and the city shut the electricity and water off. 

Mitchell said there was a also a donkey. 

The renter, Shelly Penrod, was planning to be gone for 30 days while she took her two children, ages 15 and 13, to Texas. The family has lived there for nearly three years. 

The family also has pit bulls inside the home. The council will leave the property on its list. 

Additional properties included: 

445 Duffield Ave. — Mattresses  have been in the yard for a month or more. Some of the work is completed; 

121 S. 10th St. — The property may be renovated; 

The council would like to see a rental inspector trained because tenants and landlords will have better accountability. It is routine for renters and owners to act when the council expresses its dissatisfaction with properties, but after a period of time, the properties return to their nuisance status.

328 Lincoln Ave. — There has been an effort to clear weeds, however, the council would like to see an effort to reorganize the items in the back of the building and more weeds cleared;

535 Jefferson Ave. — Owner Aaron Taylor was at the council meeting and was asked about his plan to give updates on his property at council meetings. Taylor made an agreement with the city council one year ago to attend meetings and give regular updates. 

Taylor’s neighbors have consistently complained about the structure that he promised to finish in January. 

The council may declare the property a nuisance if Taylor doesn’t finish the renovation.

212 S. 13th St. — The property is tabled for 30 days while the owners and the city work together; 

250 S. 13th St. — Progress was made. The council tabled the property for 30 days. In addition, the council dropped 440 Eads Ave., from its list because the property was maintained. 

The city approved the property tax increase of 6.2 percent. Last year’s increase was 3.00 percent. New property growth will absorb 1.7 percent, leaving a 4.5 percent increase on prior existing properties, accountant Brian Blobaum explained.