Hillsboro City Council approved restoration of the replica Friesen mill at the historical museum complex at a cost of $21,900.
Most of the funds — $17,000 — will come from a trust established by the original miller’s family when the replica was built in the early 1990s. An expected reimbursement for work on the Schaeffler House Museum will help with the city’s portion of the cost.
Koehn Painting Company and Miller Construction, both of Newton, were hired for the project. Museum Advisory Board member David Brown said the mill is an icon of Hillsboro.
“It seems like the mill is so visible, especially coming from the south,” Brown said.
Land sale splits council
By a 3-2 vote, the council approved selling land in Hillsboro Heights to Kevin and Angela Jost for $25,000 after the Josts rejected a change in the contract the city requested.
The original contract said the city could not add special assessments — such as for streets — to the property as long the Josts own it. The city requested amending that clause to only be effective for 10 years, but the Josts rejected the change.
Council member Bob Watson opposed giving such an exemption to a single property owner, even if the city hasn’t put in special assessments in Hillsboro Heights or the industrial park.
“I think it’s a poor precedent,” Watson said. “Forever is a long time.”
Mayor Delores Dalke said it was clear the Josts wouldn’t agree to the city’s proposed change, so the council needed to decide whether selling the property was worth including that exemption.
Council members Byron McCarty and Marlene Fast voted to sell the property. Watson and council member Shelby Dirks voted against it. Dalke broke the tie in favor of selling it.
If the Josts don’t build on the property within 24 months, the contract gives the city the right to purchase it back at the same sale price.
In other business:
- The council extended a lease with Cooperative Grain & Supply for 38 acres of city-owned land another five years. Rent is $2,850 per year. The city may terminate the lease early if it has a buyer who will use the land for commercial purposes, rather than agriculture.
- Punishment for property maintenance code violations were set at a maximum of $500 per day or up to three months in jail. A municipal court judge would still have the option of imposing a lesser sentence.
- City Administrator Larry Paine and City Attorney Joshua Boehm met with the council in closed session for 25 minutes to discuss trade secrets. No action was taken on return to open session.