By Jan Huffman Herald Correspondent
The Clinton Herald
---- — DEWITT — Funding for the Eighth Street infrastructure project with the sale of general obligation bonds not to exceed $4 million was approved at the DeWitt City Council meeting Monday.
The bonds also will cover refunding of the city’s 2008 bond.
The winning bidder was D. A. Davidson & Co., of Denver, with a true interest rate of 2.696001 percent. There were two other bidders. They were good bids overall, City Administrator Steve Lindner said.
Finance Director Deanna Rekemeyer added that the city came out better than expected. Refunding of the 2008 bond will save the city nearly $300,000, including administrative costs over 10 years. May 1 is the closing date for the issuance of the bonds.
The council approved a lease agreement with DeWitt Land and Farm for property adjacent to Westbrook Park. The land will be used for development of an off-road bike trail. The agreement provides for clearing of foilage and does not require any rent payment.
Discussion of a proposal from Koestner, McGivern and Associates of Davenport resulted in approval of pursuing an appraisal for police headquarters at 606 Ninth St. at costs ranging from $600 to $1,000. Lindner said several local Realtors had been contacted for appraisal services but they did not feel it was within their field of expertise.
Construction of a new police station at the old REC building site is expected to begin nine or 10 months from now with completion a year from next September, Lindner added.
Councilmen Steve Hasenmiller and Kurt Ketelsen questioned marketing the building so soon but definitely did not want to wait until the department had moved out. Lindner said the intention was to let people know the building would be available.
The council approved the purchase of 70 hanging baskets at $2,256, one planter at $1,216 and $750 shipping, and 27 trash receptacle lids for $4,266 for DeWitt’s downtown. The baskets will be bought from Planters Unlimited of Carlsbad, Calif., and the planter and lids from Dura Art Stone of Pasadena, Calif. Funds are available through the self-supporting improvement district taxes, one-third of which is paid by donations from businesses and 66 percent from the general fund, Lindner said.
A sum of $30,000 is on hand, he said.
The council approved closing parts of Eighth Street today for Operation Prom, hiring graduate student Kevin Randle as a summer planning intern at $8.75 an hour for 14 weeks to work on the city’s comprehensive plan, releasing a lien for property maintenance at 721 12th St., and denying a sidewalk waiver at 523 12th Ave. on the corner with Sixth Street. Councilman Verlyn Scheckel said there was no sidewalk on Sixth Street and the sidewalk should be put in.
Sixth Street dead ends and a street is not expected to go through there, Lindner said. Although Ketelsen voted no on the denial on the grounds there would be no development, the council voted 4-1 on the basis that the sidewalk policy should be followed.
The council began its first attempts to deal with the emerald ash borer by approving the first reading of an addition to an ordinance to regulate chemical treatment of ash trees. Previously city forester Kevin Rice had informed the council the EAB was just outside a 15-mile radius of the city. He suggested treating some large trees in Lincoln Park and start taking down small trees in the city’s boulevard.
According to a 1998 inventory, there are 75 ash trees in boulevards.
The ordinance calls for chemical treatment of trees on private property or city right-of-way at the expense of the property owner and performed by a licensed commercial pesticide applicator. The permit fee is yet to be established.
The council approved the first reading of an ordinance revision changing the time limits on city ordered sidewalk repairs. In order to complete the maintenance program in one construction season, the time before the city makes the sidewalk repair was cut from 90 days to 45 days.
The final readings of ordinance revisions to increase sewer rates and water rates by 3 percent were also approved.
At the request of Rekemeyer, the city approved no longer writing reimbursement checks to residents who owe the city money and are behind on payments. Of 40 individuals who are in line for reimbursements, seven owe the city money, she said. In a new offset policy, Rekemeyer said the resident should be informed of what is occurring and why. The council agreed such a policy should be written and returned to the agenda.
The council was informed of a marketing opportunity for the city by CGI Communications, Inc., of Rochester, N.Y., to create marketing videos on the city’s website. Lindner said the proposal must go through the DeWitt Chamber and Development Company to be effective.
Rice reported DeWitt was declared a Tree City USA for the 23rd time and received the growth award for the 19th time.
Mayor Don Thiltgen proclaimed Operation Prom Week and National Library Week in April. The library book sale is from Saturday to April 19.