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Hillsboro buys 19 lots in Willow Glen for $1

Staff writer

Hillsboro City Council voted Tuesday to purchase 19 vacant residential lots in Willow Glen subdivision from Eldred Kunkel for $1, or about 5 cents per lot. The lots have a total appraised value of about $79,000.

Kunkel offered the lots because he doesn’t expect development on the lots in the near future.

He developed the subdivision but now lives in San Jose, Calif.

There are special assessments on the lots of about $350 per year per lot, but Kunkel was behind on payment.

“We’re paying the specials already,” Mayor Delores Dalke said.

City Administrator Larry Paine said purchasing the lots would give the city more control over how they are developed in the future.

Kunkel also donated wheat and sorghum worth about $1,100 after storage fees that was farmed on the lots.

The council voted unanimously to purchase the lots and accept the commodity donation.

“We don’t want to go against the grain,” council member Bob Watson joked.

Council considers joining county revitalization plan

The council tabled consideration of whether to opt into Marion County’s revised neighborhood revitalization program, which provides tax rebates for property improvements.

The city opted out of the original program. One issue that arose at that time was declaring the entire area of the program “blighted,” Paine said. The new program doesn’t use that terminology, he added.

The city has a similar program, but only for a portion of the city. A property owner cannot participate in both programs for the same property.

Another change in the county’s plan is that the duration of the tax rebates is reduced from 10 to five years.

Watson said he wanted to table the issue to give council members more time to ponder the decision. Council member Shelby Dirks agreed, and the issue was deferred to the Jan. 4 meeting.

In other business:

  • A quit-claim deed was approved to transfer ownership of land around the Hillsboro Business Park retention pond to Midway Motors. The benefit to the city is that the company will be responsible for maintaining the land. The business benefits because it will be able to erect signs advertising the new dealership location.
  • Choices for an engineer to work with the cities of Hillsboro and Marion to assist in remediating zebra mussels at Marion Reservoir are being narrowed, Paine said.
  • Cereal malt beverage licenses for Trail Bowl Lanes, Hillsboro Municipal Golf Course, Vogt’s Market, Casey’s General Store, and Ampride were renewed.
  • Paine, Hillsboro Development Corporation Executive Director Clint Seibel, and City Attorney Dan Baldwin met with the council in closed session to discuss matters protected by attorney-client privilege for 25 minutes at Paine’s request. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • A 2010 budget amendment was approved. The amendment is needed to prevent cash-basis and budget violations. Paine said he prefers to adopt a tight budget and amend it later than to adopt a budget with too much wiggle room.
  • William Morris Associates of Augusta received $4,399 and Frederick Waterproofing & Roofing of Wichita received $8,895 for work on the Schaeffler House chimney.
  • The council considered a request to purchase a used 2006 trencher for $45,000 in 2011. The equipment would replace a similar unit and be used by the electric, sewer, and water departments. A new trencher would cost about $90,000.

The next council meeting will be 4 p.m. Jan. 4.

Last modified Dec. 22, 2010

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