City proceeds with restaurant demolition
The city is proceeding with plans to demolish the Popp's Restaurant building, 131 Baker, owned by Larry Trowbridge and Cindy O'Bryon.
A public hearing was held Monday night, with only O'Bryon making any comment and she was willingly working with the city.
She said she is still waiting to hear from insurance adjusters regarding the contents of the building, which has slowed the demolition process. The building was destroyed by a fire March 19. She is hoping the city's plan to demolish the building will make the adjusters get their work done.
In April, the city approved an ordinance calling for the payment of 15 percent of the insurance proceeds be paid to the city for proper disposal of the building. City Administrator Larry Paine said any unused amount of the 15 percent would be returned to the owners.
City inspector Jim Tarwater said the paperwork could be completed and demolition could begin within a month.
"There are some areas of the building that, in the opinion of the fire chief, are dangerous," Paine said.
Paine said there are underground storage tanks on the property that also would have to be removed eventually. However, the city is only concerned about the demolition of the building, Paine said.
"The building does have to be removed, pronto," said Mayor Stan Krysztof.
Funding sought for city projects
Interest rates are prompting the city to fund four projects with a general obligation bond. The City Council directed Paine to look into using a general obligation bond to fund more than $2 million of projects.
The projects, which have already gained approval and some are under construction, are:
The upgrade of booster pumps and telemetry system for the water utility, with an approximate cost of $200,000.
The relocation of the portion of the city's water line that runs beneath Baker Wetlands, approximately $400,000 of which is the city's share. Douglas County and Rural Water District No. 4 are also participating in the project.
The 2001 reconstruction of Sixth Street, about $600,000 is the city's share. Douglas County is also participating in the project.
The widening of U.S. Highway 56, of which the city is paying $870,000.
A recent increase of the city's water rate to customers will go toward payment of the water projects. Paine will report to the council how the expense of the remaining projects would affect tax payers.
Paine said the city could wait to fund the Sixth Street project, however, he said interest rates could climb. The current rate for a general obligation bond is 6 percent.
Charter ordinance sets check signing
The City Council approved drafting a charter ordinance that will exempt the city from a state law which requires the city clerk to be a signer on the city's checks. Baldwin's checks have been signed by the mayor and city treasurer since city funds were misused by a former city clerk more than two years ago.
"When we went through the process of hiring Peggy (city clerk Peggy Nichols), the council did not want that to happen for very obvious reasons" Paine said.
Nichols recently learned of the state law requiring city clerks to sign checks at a city clerk meeting.
"The process we are using now does not comply with state statute," Paine said.
"We have no doubts about the integrity of the current clerk," he added.
The council members voted 5-0 in favor of drafting a charter ordinance.
"I'd rather see it stay like it is," said council president Marilyn Pearse.
Library appointments made by mayor
During a special meeting of the City Council on May 25, Krysztof recommended and the council approved the appointment of Cheryl Grosdidier and Liz Nigh to the Baldwin City Public Library Board of Trustees.
The appointments of Patty James as municipal court clerk and Peggy Nichols as municipal court administrator also were approved.
Other city appointments were made earlier in the month.