A brief meeting of the Amery City Council September 2 saw the approval of most items on the agenda. It was decided a few could use a little more discussion.
The first item of two, which was determined to need more decision-making time was turning Water Street into a One-Way street, with parking on only one side of the road.
Council President Rick Van Blaricom asked if the city had heard anything from residents of Waters Edge concerning this subject and wondered if they even were aware of the possible change.
No calls to the city had been received. They said this was a request of an independent citizen.
“It is pretty narrow through there,” said Councilperson Chad Leonard.
Van Blaricom said, “There are lots of good reasons for it, but most of them against it are 85 years or older and ornery as all get out.”
He said the council tried to pass this around four years ago. Van Blaricom said, “Miss Kay narrowly avoided a lynch mob.” Speaking about former Mayor Kay Erickson. “I think we should at least broach the subject with those folks before we put up signs,” he said.
It was determined the city would contact Terry Forrest of the Amery Housing Authority to talk to the residents of Waters Edge and send the item back to the Public Works Committee.
The second item that wasn’t fully finalized was the possible sale of the current City Hall Building.
As reported in the August 18 edition of the Amery Free Press, during the August 17 Finance Committee meeting, Mayor Paul Isakson said he had been approached by someone who is interested in purchasing the current City Hall building.
It was recommended at that time additional information should be obtained from the City Attorney.
During the Sept. 2 meeting, Isakson read a statement from the attorney. “Unless the City Council has a policy otherwise or the council prefers to advertise, you do not have to, just have an open meeting and discussion to approve. The real issue is whether the city is getting fair value out of the sale and the project. Some municipalities have the property appraised or have a real estate agent offer an opinion on value. You could also talk to your assessor for an opinion. In this case, the building is in poor condition and one might argue that it even has a negative value, based on the cost to demo and the vacant lot. If the council feels it is in the best interest of the city, they should move forward. Make a good record of the reasons for the price and include the fact of the pre-lease and benefit the city will have by having a business invest in downtown,” he said.
Leonard felt as far as notice about the subject goes, it has been published in two agendas, which should be sufficient.
Council member Tim Strohbusch said he thought the city should in the least, get an appraisal done.
Isakson said the potential buyer intends on replacing the roof this fall and leasing the building back to the city for one dollar until they vacate to the new City Center. He had concern that an appraisal could take some time and interfere with the fall roof repair.
Van Blaricom said the Assessor should have an appraisal on city-owned property.
“That should be sufficient, we just need to determine how much the building is worth so we know we are getting fair value for it,” said Strohbusch.
Van Blaricom asked if after the information from the assessor was gathered, the item should go back to the Finance Committee.
Isakson, worried about the amount of time it would take before it cam back in front of full council and said, “It probably won’t happen then.”
Isakson said the offer was for $5,000. “He has to put $150,000 into the roof, plus upgrade the electrical and HVAC and all the rest,” said Isakson.
Council member Eric Elkin said it was also important to establish that the building was being sold completely “As Is.”
The rest of the council agree and decided to hold a virtual Special Meeting September 9 at 5p.m.
A handful of issues under new business had previously been discussed in one or more committee meetings, leaving to quick decisions at full council. Items approved included paying for Amery advertising in the 2021 Polk County Visitor’s Guide, hiring Clifton Larsen Allen to assist with the 2021 budget, paying for burial of an Xcel Energy power line on Baker St., changes to the City Zoning map and a rezone from R1 to R2 for property owned by Gary Bauermeister located in Section 04 Town 32 N Range 16.