Council approves sales tax question for November ballot
The Fairview City Council met at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 16, at the Fairview Community Building. Present for the meeting were council members Bridget Harvey, Sierra Renner, Doug Bletscher, Charlie Kramer and Steve Holthaus, Community Center manager Joann Keim, city treasurer Kim Rettele, city clerk Christine Rosenberger, city employee George Blanton, city code officer Ashley Martinez, and eight guests.
Mayor Art Vonderschmidt called the meeting to order by phone and appointed Bletscher as president of the council.
Dan Homan addressed the council regarding the city addressing building codes throughout town.
“We have a challenge with building codes here,” Homan said. “They’re just not adhered to. They are not necessarily followed. I’m kind of frustrated that although there is a national building code, this is the first place that I have ever lived that it has been totally ignored. I think it is evident if you just drive down the streets and look at what’s going on.”
The council said Martinez has just started again working for the city as the City Code Officer, and she will work through the issues throughout town.
American Legion Post No. 322 Commander Charles Bredahl presented three certificates of appreciation to the citizens in Fairview. The first was for the City of Fairview for outstanding service and assistance to the “advancement of the American Legion Program.” According to Bredahl, the City of Fairview helped with their memorial after the Dec. 15, 2021, storm damaged the memorial in Fairview.
The second certificate was presented to Rettele for “her work on doing the insurance claims, and making sure the memorial was back in shape.”
The third certificate was presented to Don Novich for “his dedication and work of picking up the pieces at the memorial and donating his time and labor.”
Don Wikle Brick Wall Cleanup: Rosenberger said she spoke with Vonderschmidt and he reported there has been no movement on the Don Wikle brick wall cleanup. Vonderschmidt will continue to pursue the matter with Wikle.
Park Bridge: Harvey reported that she spoke with Alan Armstrong and he had said again he will build a bridge at the park to go over the ditch in the park.
Truck Parking Property Deed: Rosenberger reported to the council about the truck parking property deed for the Keim Travel Plaza Project.
“When the surveyor came out and did the survey on the truck parking spot, they found that the property had not been deeded to the city,” Rosenberger said. “So, the surveyor went back to the attorneys and they got that straightened out. They filed paperwork, but the paperwork they filed did not have the legal description correct. So, the title company kicked it back to the surveyor. Now, the surveyor is working to get those corrections made.”
Rosenberger said the closing was “originally set for the end of June, but they think they will have to extend that a little bit, but they are not sure how far they will have to extend it.”
City Real Estate: Rosenberger said she contacted a realtor, and got her opinion on the properties. Rosenberger said the city is really at a “decision making process on what the council wants to do with the properties.” Rosenberger said the realtor would be interested in possibly meeting with a small committee regarding the properties.
Park Electric Disconnect: Rosenberger said there was not currently an update on the City Park electric disconnect.
City Sales Tax: Rettele presented a resolution to the council regarding adding a 0.50 percent city sales tax. Rettele said if the city approved the resolution, the sales tax question would be placed on the Tuesday, Nov. 8, General Election ballot. The council approved putting a 0.50 percent citywide retailers sales tax question on the November ballot. If the vote passes on Nov. 8, the city intends to use the 0.50 percent sales tax for city infrastructure purposes.
Rettele said if the sales tax question is approved by voters, it would not go into effect until April 2023. Rettele suggested possibly having a public hearing regarding the sales tax, so voters were informed on the purpose of the sales tax. Renner agreed that a public hearing would be a good idea.
Park Water Problems: Keim said she got a quote for a new water pressure tank in the park. The quote was for $610, which includes a new water pressure tank, pipe and labor. This quote was added to the bills to pay.
City Code Officer Update
After the last meeting in May, Martinez accepted the position of city code enforcement officer.
Martinez said she just started back up doing the code enforcement throughout town. Martinez said she recommends the city adopt a minimum housing code in Fairview. The one she presented to the council is “similar to Hiawatha’s.”
“We can get some of these places, if they are not fixed or it’s not economically feasible to fix them, because it would cost more than what the property is worth to do all the repairs, we can get them condemned and torn down,” Martinez said. “We can show the city we’re actually doing something, not just the bare minimum. It [the minimum housing code] covers just about everything.”
Martinez said she spoke with city attorney Martin Mishler, and he said it is up to the code officer to determine if it is inhabitable by people or if it is blightful to the neighborhood, or in disrepair. You have to give the person 30 days to try and make repairs, if it’s even feasible. After 30 days, a hearing will be set – not a court date – with the city council and our lawyer, and the people who have received tickets can give their side of the story.”
In order to implement a minimum housing code, Martinez suggested having Mishler come to the council and discuss how the code will work. Rosenberger said she would reach out to Mishler regarding the minimum housing code.
Martinez also asked the council if she could take classes to become a certified code inspector.
“I feel like it would be easier to do my job if I could take a few little classes from Highland or something similar, so I actually have training in codes,” Martinez said.
The council asked Martinez to get some pricing for classes and bring them back to the council.
Bletscher said he received an application for demolition assistance from Paul Reynolds, for the trailer house located at 314 S. Elm Street. According to the application, the estimated time for demolition is September 2022. The demolition will be completed by RK Excavation, and the total for the demolition is $4,000, including the landfill cost. The council approved this application and agreed to pay $2,000 toward this demolition.
According to Rosenberger, the city can award two demolition assistance on an annual basis, up to $2,000 per occurrence. This is the first demolition assistance the city has awarded for the calendar year.
Martinez said Milan Kloepfer is planning on tearing down the cat house, and she is taking him a demolition assistance application.
Also at the meeting:
The council approved the minutes from the May 5 meeting.
The council approved the treasurer’s report.
Martinez asked if Rosenberger could talk with the judge about setting up a court date for August for persons who have been ticketed, and have not paid their fines. Rosenberger said she would contact Mishler to set up an August court date.
Martinez also asked for more ticket books, and Rosenberger said to order them through Printing Impressions.
The council discussed adding speed limit signs in town. Rosenberger said she would check with Vonderschmidt to see if signs had already been ordered, and if they have not, she will ask Vonderschmidt to order six 20 mile per hour speed limit signs.
Rosenberger said she had Mishler send out delinquent sewer bill notices.
Rettele said the citywide cleanup cost $844 compared to $534 spent last year, due to the amount of junk put in the trailers.
Rettele also said the city got a dividend refund from the city’s insurance carrier for $1,256.95.
Rettele asked about getting new tables for the cook shack at the park. Rettele asked if the city wanted her to pursue this and use the Wolfe Grant Money. The council agreed to this.
In regards to Wikle’s building, the council suggested having Martinez follow up with him regarding the cleanup of the building instead of Vonderschmidt, since it is a city code issue.
The council approved to pay the bills.
The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, July 7, at the Fairview Community Building.