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home : news : news Tuesday, January 16, 2018

8/23/2017 Email this articlePrint this article 
Couple must occupy home or repay city for rehab job

By Tom Pantera

A DeWitt couple will have to repay $15,000 to the city unless somebody moves into their house.

Josh and Jaci Paarmann, who own the house at 612 Sixth Ave., participated in DeWitt's Owner Occupied Rehab Program, which provides money for necessary work done on a house. Part of the deal involves a forgivable loan of $15,000; under the terms of that loan, the owners must reside in the house.

But city Director of Finance Deanna Rekemeyer told the City Council Monday that the city had disconnected water service to the house for nonpayment four months ago. She contacted Jaci Paarmann, who told her she had been in a car accident and was temporarily living with her mother, but planned to move back into the house.

Since that conversation, there has been "extraordinarily low water service at the property," Rekemeyer said.

She also spoke to Josh Paarmann's grandparents, who told her that he had recently been in jail, but had been released and would move back in Monday, although his wife and children would not.

Rekemeyer noted that the city makes up to a dozen such arrangements each year under the rehab program, and most people comply with the rules.

At the suggestion of City Administrator Steve Linder, the city will monitor the situation over the next month and a half to determine whether anyone is living in the house, then decide in October what to do.

Paving work sought

In other business Monday, the Council directed Public Works Director Matt Proctor to get price quotes for paving Fifth Avenue South from First Street to the Union Pacific right-of-way.

Terry Stauffer, owner of Dawg House Cycle Parts and Accessories, asked the city to take the action because of heavy dust kicked up by nearby agricultural businesses and the railroad. In background material given to the council, Lindner said officials had never discussed nor contemplated paving more of Fifth Avenue and did not include it as part of the First Street project.

Stauffer suggested Monday that one possible solution would be to use milled asphalt on that portion of the street, which would cost only about $7 a ton.

Under questioning from council members, Proctor said paving that part of the street probably would require three to four truckloads and would be only a temporary solution.

"The best solution would be concrete," Mayor Don Thiltgen said.

Proctor estimated concrete paving would cost $8,000 to $10,000.

Council members directed Proctor to get more refined cost estimates for such a project and bring them back for discussion.

Firemen get grant

Also on Monday, the Council:

Was informed that the Fire Department had been approved for a $133,629 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for new breathing apparatus. The grant requires a city match of $6,681.

Approved purchase of a dilapidated home at 902 Fifth Ave., next to city property, for $50,000;

Approved street closures for Autumnfest Sept. 15. The request, the same as last year, will close Sixth Avenue from Seventh Street to 11th Street, the 1000 block of Fifth Avenue, and 10th Street from Barnes Foodland to Fifth Avenue (keeping First Central State Bank's drive-through open) from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. The council also approved an expanded outdoor service area for Murphy's Pub from 1 p.m. that day to 2 a.m. Sept. 16, closing 10th Street for the width of Murphy's frontage.

Approved a temporary alley closure behind St. Joseph for that church's Sept. 7 fall festival.

Accepted the resignation of DeWitt Police Officer Logan Camp, who has taken a job with the department in his hometown of Winterset, Iowa.

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