Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

April 9, 2014

Real estate is a hot commodity

By Michael Schaffer Managing Editor
The Daily Iowegian

---- — Monday’s Centerville City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall had seven agenda items that dealt with real estate issues.

The council by 5-0 votes passed six of those seven items:

n A resolution to voluntarily annex Golfview Addition Owner’s Association into the city.

n Two resolutions to start the abandonment process against Carl N. and Ruth Marie Laurson and Jesse W. Bacon property which has been abandoned resulting in the property becoming a nuisance. The plan is to take title to the property and sell it to an individual who will improve the property.

George Johnson, building and code compliance officer, said the Laurson property has been a nuisance for a very long time and very poorly maintained.

Those and other comments by city employees were made after a member of the Laurson family approached the council to inquire about remedies other than abandonment in order to keep the property.

Centerville attorney Mike Craver advised the council to start the abandonment process and he would meet with the family to discuss the issue.

n A resolution authorizing the sale of real estate by public bid located at 1308 W. Washington. The city plans to acquire the property through the abandonment process, and, if successful, they will accept sealed bids until 5 p.m. April 21 for the sale and conveyance of said property.

• Two resolutions to set public hearings for 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 21 at City Hall for the acceptance of offer to purchase real estate between the city and Chariton Valley Regional Housing Trust Fund, Inc. for the Peel and the Korthius properties. The resolution states each property is valued at $1,000.

n The last property item for the council to consider was by Frank Caraccio, of Centerville, who discussed his $400 bid for the lot at 541 N. 12th St.

No vote was taken by the council because the city normally sells property through a competitive bidding process and public hearing.

“We have to open it up so everybody has a chance,” Patrick Antonen, city administrator, said.

In addition, the council in March of this year voted to allow the lot to be used as a community garden this summer at the request of Paul Kness.

Two public hearings were conducted Monday. Both hearings dealt with franchise and fee agreements with Interstate Power and Light Company, the parent of Alliant Energy.

The council 5-0 passed the first reading of both ordinances to establish a 25 year natural gas and electric franchise agreement with IP&L and Centerville and a 3 percent franchise fee for both utility services.

The second reading will be at the next council meeting on Monday, April 21.

Due to Councilman Ron Creagan’s concern with part of the agreement, it was recommended the city meet with Alliant Energy officials to talk about utility services in the street improvement project area.

The 3 percent franchise fee will be billed monthly by IP&L on the sale of natural gas and electricity to their customers within city limits. The fee is a separate line item on customer’s utility bill.

Antonen in a previous Daily Iowegian story said the 3 percent franchise fee will replace the 1 percent Local Option Sales and Service Tax customers are paying currently.

The 3 percent franchise fee will start “on or before the first Company billing cycle of the first calendar month following 90 days of receipt of information required of the City to implement the franchise fee.”

The money collected through the franchise fee comes back to Centerville.

Centerville Mayor Jan Spurgeon proclaimed April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

She said trees on the Square will be decorated with teal-colored ribbons in honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

“I hope to play a very active role in preventing sexual violence in this community,” Spurgeon said.

In other action the council:

n Passed a resolution authorizing Alliant Energy to install one street light at the intersection of Dewey Road and Highway 5.

n Awarded the park and cemetery mowing contract to Clipper Lawn Service LLC of Centerville, the only bid received by the city. The contract runs from April 1 to Oct. 31 at a charge of $3,481 per mowing and $375 per spraying of roads in Oakland Cemetery. The contract calls for mowing and trimming at the City Park, Oakland Cemetery and other designated areas for a total of 70 acres.

n Approved delinquent water and sewer accounts for a total of $2,246.87 to be turned over for collection.

Monday’s council meeting adjourned at 7:11 p.m. The next Centerville City Council meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 21 at City Hall.