Schell City council discusses looming projects

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

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The Schell City council had little business to address at Wednesday evening's meeting.

In official business, the council unanimously approved the previous month's minutes, this month's bills, and the prorating of one water account due to a leak.

Prior to the vote to approve the monthly bills, Mayor Pro tem David McCubbin addressed the audience stating, "any of you are welcome to go through them if you would like to see them."

The council and the audience discussed at length the planned demolition of the dilapidated buildings on main street, possible future community wide events such as a Fourth of July festival, and contracting for mowing services this summer.

Addressing an audience member's concerns about ATV use on the city streets after dark without lights, McCubbin said the city could choose to contract with Vernon County Sheriff's Officer for additional patrols and ordinance enforcement.

McCubbin cited the city of Sheldon's agreement with VCSO in which a deputy was assigned to the city for various time segments totaling 12 hours each week. The cost was approximately $600 per month. Deputies assigned to the city could also enforce city ordinances.

The council and audience members discussed recent incidents of people knocking on doors and windows in the middle of the night.

McCubbin said he plans to talk to Sheriff Jason Mosher about the possibility of increasing patrols in Schell City.

City Clerk Erin Lee said the city would not have to pay election fees in April as there are only as many candidates as there are open positions.

"There's probably a little bit more to it than just tearing down some buildings," McCubbin said during discussion of the demolition of the dilapidated buildings on Main Street.

McCubbin said he would like to see the debris sorted and dealt with appropriately. He suggested brick from the buildings could be used as fill.

There is also the possibility one or more fuel oil tanks are buried under or behind the buildings. These tanks would need to be removed. There may also be out of service water wells associated with the buildings.

"They might not even be there," Doug Vantellman said.

Vantellman suggested the city request Will Crowder to direct the demolition and clean up.

McCubbin said he has talked to Crowder about the project.

The project will likely not be accomplished in one day with the most probable course of action to be demolishing and cleaning up one building at a time. A specific timeline has not yet been established.

"I'd kind of like to get started before it starts warming up," McCubbin said.

McCubbin congratulated Lee on successful completion of the water system operator course, and following a short discussion, Lee was applauded by the council and audience.

Also on the agenda was discussion of a community event-planning meeting scheduled for Friday, Feb. 17.

McCubbin said he would like to see the community to begin holding a Fourth of July celebration and other events.

"This meeting isn't just meant for the city council and community betterment, it's meant for everyone." Lee said.

Answering a question from the audience, McCubbin said area residents that did not reside within Schell City were welcome to attend the community event-planning meeting.

McCubbin said he would like the council to revisit the wording of ordinance No. 41-2005 A regarding septic systems in the city.

Last thing on the agenda was to discuss mowing bids. The city first opened mowing to bids last year.

The council and audience discussed specific intervals at which city property needs to be mowed.

Jim Goodman suggested bidding the mowing on a seasonal basis and the contractor would need to mow as often as needed to maintain the grass under a certain height for a set cost.

To be included on the mowing bid will be all city property including the park and softball field. The contractor will also have to use a trimmer or spray where appropriate and notify the city of the dates that they mow.

Schell City spent an average of $210 per month on mowing in 2016.

"I know the last few years the ball field has been neglected and it needs a ton of work right now." McCubbin said. "We're going to need some help doing that."

McCubbin said he wants to work with community betterment and the softball association to improve the softball field.

"I'm not trying to push anyone out of it, its just my feeling the city should take that back over," McCubbin said. "I want more of a partnership here."

McCubbin has said previously that a priority of his is improving Schell City's appearance.

Schell City is accepteingbids for mowing to include all city property beginning Monday, Feb. 13 until the March 8 council meeting.

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