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Should City invest in property cards

By Staff | Sep 16, 2012

Arden Warner was appointed to fill the chair vacated by Jerry Harmel at the Rugby City Council meeting on Sept. 4 in the council chambers. Warner will represent Ward 3. The council currently consists of: Terry Wentz, Arlen Geiszler, Arden Warner, Jim Hoffert, Dave Bednarz, Gary Kraft, Neil Lotvedt, and Bruce Rheault. David Cichos serves as mayor. Dawn Hauck is the city auditor. Bill Hartl is the city attorney.

The city appointed Nick Brossart as the city tax assessor and he was duly sworn in reciting an oath of office.

Brossart presented the council with a proposal that the county is thinking about for organizing and measuring a fair assessment on each property in the county with the use of property cards complete with photo of property, and information such as the number of bathrooms, bedrooms, finished basement or unfinished basement, etc. Improvements would be added to the property card information as property owners made them.

Vanguard Appraisals presented the county commissioners with information on this new system which some counties and cities have already adopted. Although no contract has been signed as of yet, the county commissioners seem to be on board with the idea. The county said they would pick up the majority of the cost of the software to get the program going, according to Brossart. He went on to say that if the city is interested in doing it at the same time they may want to contribute by paying half the maintenance costs while the county would pay the other half.

“It makes sense for the county and city to do it at the same time,” said Brossart citing the cost effectiveness of sharing the software.

The company would not be able to start until the year 2015 completing the assessment for tax year 2016. They don’t require payment until the start of the project in 2015.

After quite a bit of discussion on the costs versus benefits, which branch of government would pay for what, Councilman Arland Geiszler moved to delay a decision on this until the October meeting so the council members could do some research on it and learn more about it. Lotvedt seconded the motion and all the above-named council members voted in favor.

After Brenda Foster, executive director, Job Development Authority (JDA) updated the counsel on the housing development, the council voted to continue with Phase I (infrastructure) of the $1.3 million sewer, water and streets project. At an Aug. 23 meeting of the city’s water, sewer and streets committee, Foster had reported that Annabelle Homes only received seven definite parties willing to begin building in the addition. The company could not commit at this time with just seven homes. Another developer has come forward who would like to buy blocks 4 & 5 to build two multi-family units. The developer would put their own infrastructure in, water and sewer and would purchase the two blocks of land for $12,500 each. In the end, the city chose to handle that phase of the project and put in their own infrastructure and sewer and water.

In further business, the council talked about the new hotel The Cobblestone which is projected to be built east of the Northern Lights Inn. Some discussion took place about fire protection and other services needing to be available to that area. The council approved a motion to annex the properties along the frontage road on the south side of Highway 2 near where the hotel is going to be built. The council also approved a motion for the city to obtain the necessary easement near the hotel property.

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