This week's City Council meeting included resignation, awards
Justin Londagin, Augusta City Councilman Ward 4, officially resigned at the start of Monday night’s council meeting.
Londagin, who was elected in April 2015, explained that he and his family were taking an opportunity to move to Denver. He thanked the citizens of Augusta for allowing him the opportunity to serve.
He also thanked city staff and “front line employees” for service to the city.
Augusta Mayor Mike Rawlings presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Londagin and thanked him for working on the Council.
Connie Thurman, Downtown Augusta, Inc. executive director, presented this year’s Adopt-a-Pot Contest winners with Mayor Rawlings presented them with certificates of appreciation.
This year was the seventh year for the contest. Local businesses, organizations, and individuals designed, planted, and tended 53 flower planters in the Judging took place in early July based on attention to weeding, arrangement and overall health of the plants. Following the judging, DAI placed signs in each planter naming and thanking the adoptee, and ribbons on the winning flower pots.
First, second, and third place prizes are funded by the City of Augusta, totaling $600. Honorable mention prizes are funded by Downtown Augusta, Inc.
First place, $250, Trudy Jacobson; second place, $200, Johnna Smith; Third place, $150, Kathy Oliver and Sharon Wheeler; Honorable mention, $50, Ashlee Sims; Honorable mention, $50, Ashley Evenson, WindSwept Salon.
Augusta’s 150th Celebration
Sarah Hoefgen, Chamber of Commerce executive director, shared some information on the community’s upcoming birthday party.
The Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Augusta, Inc., and community members have been planning the two-week celebration that starts in late September and includes the Augusta High School Homecoming Parade, game and fireworks; carnival and chili competition; and lots of downtown activities.
The process requires unique safety concerns, which City Council must review and approve.
There was no action needed on Hoefgen’s update.
Council members approved the Planning Commission’s recommendation to approve the final plat for Begley Ranch Addition located near SW 70th St. and Shumway Rd. Also approved was the zoning district reclassifications.
Condemnation proceedings on 423 E. Broadway came before Council again. Assistant City Manager Cody Sims shared the background on the property.
An initial inspection was conducted on the property on March 10, 2017 and reports were presented to Council at the March 20, 2017 meeting. Both resolutions No. 2017-09 and No. 2017-10 were approved, which set time and place for the public hearing on May 15, 2017. On April 19, 2017 building permits were issued to rebuild the both the house and garage. On the same day, a warranty deed transferred the property from Kevin and Janet Unrein to Alan Gehlen. One inspection was made on May 2, 2017 and the permit expired after 180 days of inactivity.
Last month the Council approved resolutions that set time and place for public hearings to take place Monday night at the meeting to discuss the condemnation on the residental and garage structure again.
Sims explained that the city had received an Ownership and Encumbrance Report for the property that listed Gehlen as the property owner.
A site visit by the City enforcement officer, structural engineer and safety office was made last month with the intent to review the structural condition of the residential structure and detached garage and note any changes from the last report in 2017.
The structural engineer’s report indicate several concerns, as they pertain to the integrity of the foundation, the bowing of the west all, and the collapsing of the roof. Other concerns were noted with the detached garage and the leaning of an exterior wall.
Sims stated that staff’s recommendation was to proceed with the approval of the condemnation of both structures and provide no more than 30 days for the property owner to make some improvements.
City Attorney Austin Parker advised that substantial progress must be shown in 30 days to stop the condemnation process to move forward.
“I got the permits, I didn’t know about the expiration,” property owner Alan Gehlen said, “I’ve never done this before. We’ll get it done.”
“We want you to be aware that we’ve been in the same situation before with others and progress faltered. We want you to really make an effort,” Council member Jaime Crum said.
Water fountain added to Shryock Park
Council members also approved the purchase of new water fountain to be accessible to the new public restroom and the Splash Pad, and situated along the pedestrian/bicycle trail. A six-inch water main is nearby, which will reduce the amount of excavation and pipe needed to connect the water fountain to a water source. A concrete pad will be installed to support the fountain. Consideration was also given to avoiding the placement of the fountain close to a tree.
Council chose a fountain similar to the one featured at the new dog park, a freeze resistant fountain that also features a bottle filling station and pet station. The lowest bid, $4,016.03, from Pro Drinking Fountains, was approved.
Curb and gutter repair work for projects
City Manager Josh Shaw asked Council for a threshold level regarding curb and gutter repair work associated with the 2017 Street Sales Tax Package.
Shaw explained that the bulk of the project funding for the street sales tax maintenance programs, is dedicated to road resurfacing with only occasional spot repairs to curb and gutter. Larger scale curb replacements are not typical unless the entire street is being reconstructed.
“During construction of the 2017 Street Sales Tax projects, a number of residents and council members have asked about the certain curb sections with cracking,” Shaw said.
He added that surface cracks and spalling (breaking off in fragments) while not aesthetically pleasing, do not necessarily pose a structural risk that would lead to failure. Replacing every section of curb and gutter purely for aesthetic reasons would inflate the cost of the project without adding much long term functional benefit.
“Staff walked the project site and developed recommendations for additional repairs...Staff’s recommendations focus on repairs that would address structural issues as opposed to purely aesthetic fixes,” Shaw said.
The city has sufficient funding to pay the addition work, not to exceed $41,000, under the previously issued street sales tax bond proceeds, approximately $666,000, but will reduce the funding that can be applied to the North Ohio Corridor Project.
Councilor David Bates stated, “We’ll regret it later if we don’t.”
Council approved the $41,000, 6-1, with Councilman Tom Leffler voting against the measure.
Shaw advised that a change order would be presented for approval at an upcoming council meeting.
Councilors approved the recommendation to donate approximately 40 found, lost, and/or stolen bicycles to Gary Rogers and the American Legion Post to refurbish and redistribute the bikes to children in need.
Council members were reminded of a special meeting at 6 p .m. on Monday, Aug. 13, to conduct the public hearing for the 2019 Budget.
In Saturday’s TG edition find out about Lifesaving Awards presented at Monday’s meeting.