Monona Council reviews city’s property valuations

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

As part of the city of Monona’s 2016-2017 property casual insurance renewal, the council reviewed the city’s property valuations at its March 7 meeting.

“We’re looking for red flags, to know if you think it’s not enough [coverage],” said agent Kelly Bulman, referencing the suggestions given by EMC Insurance.

The city’s property includes the library, fire department, city hall/community center/police department, maintenance garage, sewer lift stations and sewer plant buildings, airport hangars, the water tower, Boy Scout building, aquatic center, park structures and equipment, the veteran’s memorial, city signage and street lights. The value of business personal property was also included, which considers the contents of the buildings.

Bulman said all properties were looked at building-by-building, which is good to do, she said, because, over time, “you might miss outdoor equipment that’s been adding up.” 

EMC inspects the property over the years and every so often makes a suggestion of what the coverage should be, she said, so their valuations are accurate.

The council took little issue with the suggestions, wanting only to further investigate values for the fire department, sewer plant and veteran’s memorial. EMC also has to re-evaluate the library following the expansion and renovation work.

Budget

The council approved the city’s fiscal year 2016-2017 budget, which estimates an ending fund balance on June 30, 2017 of $1,457,641, with anticipated total expenditures of $4,697,856. Notable expenditures include more street work than normal, as well as the phase II sewer project.

“It’s been a challenge to guess where projects will land,” said city administrator Dan Canton, noting that, since projects often begin in the spring, they land in two different fiscal years.

The estimated total tax levy rate per $1,000 valuation on regular property is $14.73. It was $14.69 the year before, Canton said.

Bulldog Boulevard

Per council approval, bids will be let for the Bulldog Boulevard Permeable Paver Street Project on Monday, April 4. According to engineer Jon Biederman, with Fehr Graham, the preliminary opinion of probable cost for the project is $245,674, much of which will be funded by interest from the city’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan for the phase II sewer project. This is the same set-up the city had when it developed a new pool parking lot using permeable pavers in 2014. 

Biederman said the pavers for this project will look much the same as the parking lot, in color and their “L” shape, which is how they lock together. However, the water will drain differently once it goes through the pavers, and slowly work its way out.

Because of the steepness of a section of the street, and the need to sand it in the winter, pavers will not be used for that portion, Biederman noted. Getting sand into the cracks of the pavers, he said, would not make them permeable.

Biederman said work on the project will take place after the aquatic center closes for the season, at the end of this summer, to prevent disruptions.

Dollar General

Canton said a date has not yet been set by the city’s planning and zoning commission to consider the proposed building of a Dollar General store on a lot in the Gordon Subdivision. A zoning change from residential to commercial would be needed to build on the site.

When the meeting occurs, said Canton, the public will have a chance to comment on how they feel about a possible zoning change. Planning and zoning would then make a recommendation to the council, who would again hold a public meeting and make a final decision.

Dollar General has been interested in constructing a store in the community for several years, and had settled on a site along Highway 18, next to Fisk’s Farm and Home and the Davis Street Car Wash. However, the company abandoned the idea when it could not secure direct access off the highway. 

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