Friday, August 22, 2014
   
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City to discontinue locating property stakes

As of Oct. 1, the city building inspector will quit locating property stakes for residents.

Such was the decision made by the Gothenburg City Council at their July 19 meeting.

Potential liability issues plus the time city building inspector Doug Swanson spends looking for stakes are reasons for the change.

Knowledge of where the stakes are is needed when residents apply for a city-issued building permit to erect a fence, build an addition or improve the property in other ways.

At an earlier meeting, the council learned that other cities, like North Platte and Kearney, require property owners to expose stakes before any building permits are issued.

If that’s not possible, they must hire a licensed surveyor to find them.

Swanson is not licensed.

Other surveyors, and city attorney Mike Bacon, said that could bring about liability issues if property stakes end up in the wrong location.

Currently, the city charges $20 to locate property stakes compared to $75 to $150 charged by at least one surveying company in the area.

During the most recent meeting, the council discussed buying and renting a metal detector to property owners so they could find their own stakes but decided the city shouldn’t be in the rental business.

Other businesses, like Hicken Lumber & Home Center, Inc., might be encouraged to buy the locators and lease them, council members decided.

Council members also talked about contracting out the work to licensed surveyors but city administrator Bruce Clymer said they are trying to decrease the city’s involvement in the issue.

“It’s the homeowner’s cost, not the taxpayer’s,” Clymer said.

Gary Fritch, a council member, said the city ought not to locate property stakes.

“It should be up to each landowner how to locate them,” he explained. “The burden is on them.”

Former councilman Ken Christensen, who attended the meeting, suggested that the city provide a list of surveyors who could do location work.

Following a public hearing, council members approved a resolution for a redevelopment plan for Mesner Development Co. of Central City.

The company built five duplexes and a triplex for residents 55 years and older known as Jefferson Square.

Tax-increment financing was used to fund the project which necessitated the redevelopment plan.

TIF supports a project by allowing the tax revenue generated by the property to help pay for its development.

After a certain time period, typically 15 years, the taxes paid will return to governmental entities.

Clymer said Mesner officials will ask the Dawson County Commissioners to lower the assessed value of the development since dwellers pay subsidized rent.

In other business, the council:

passed on second reading, an ordinance to adopt the 2011 National Electrical Code which is the minimal requirement for electrical service in Gothenburg and the state.

agreed to pay Midland Contracting Inc. $29,343 for sewer cleaning and inspection.

reviewed and approved a plat submitted by Ken Christensen to subdivide property he owns in the southwest part of town.

When the property is developed, Christensen must pay for water and sewer lines from lots that hook into city mains.

gave the go ahead to pay for part of an employee eye care program, through the Vision Care Plan, which would cost the city about $1,800 a year.

granted requests to OK Bottle Shoppe for special designated licenses to serve alcohol at Gothenburg Tire & Service on Aug. 19 and at Nebraska Salt & Grain Co. on Sept. 10.

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