The DeWitt City Council voted unanimously to release four liens for charges related to the 2021 City Sidewalk Repair project at its first regular meeting of the year last week.
It’s a move the council likely will repeat regularly as late last year it approved placing liens ranging from about $30 up to about $960 on 105 properties that required repairs. Property owners were notified of the plan.
DeWitt City Administrator Steve Lindner said property owners can pay before the liens go into effect, and that the city sets the liens for a couple of reasons, including accurate record keeping.
“One, it helps incent people to pay,” he said. But the more important reason is that in many years past, before the city put liens on properties for such work, a house might sell before the bill was paid.
“If a sale occurs before an owner pays, it gets confusing,” he said. ‘It’s not known necessarily that they have this debt against the property. The liens clear it up. It’s not meant to be a negative experience. It’s our way to track those properties if they do sell and to keep track of all the outstanding bills that we have. We’re working with folks the best that we can. That’s why we do it that way.”
Property owners who owe less than $500 have until November to pay, while those who owe more than $500 have until November 2025.
Last year the city contracted with Precision Concrete to examine and repair sidewalks that did not meet federal standards for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Each year the city inspects and repairs, if necessary, a quadrant of the town.
The following liens were released by the council: $192.19 for 316 E. 11th St.; $71.75 for 816 2nd Ave.; $61.50 for 312 10th St.; and $133.25 for 1302 6th Ave.
In other business, the council:
• Set a public hearing for Feb. 7 on proposals to enter into general obligation (GO) loan agreements. It is estimated that DeWitt will enter into a GO loan agreement up to $6.5 million. The funding includes refinancing a $1.24 million 2017 GO bond. The move will save the city about $200,000, Lindner said. The new issue also will include funding for the 2022 First Street Project ($1.66 million), the 2022 Fire Station Project ($3 million), engineering costs for a 6th Avenue/Northridge Road Street Improvements Project, construction of which is expected in 2023 or 2024, ($200,000); the 2022 Pickle Ball Project ($250,000); Trail Bridge planning ($25,000); and the engineering and construction of the city’s street shop. The estimate for that project, which is not set to begin until next year, came in last week higher than expected at $2.6 million due to the supply and labor shortages and other factors impacting the construction industry and building jobs around the country. That estimate could change before the project is set to begin, Lindner said.
• Approved a financial services agreement with Piper Sandler, who has handled the city’s financial services for than 20 years, for the issuance of the 2022 bond. The agreement is for $19,500.
• Approved a release on the mortgage on the property at 320 6th Ave. The owner, who participated in the city’s 2016 home rehabilitation program, fulfilled the terms of the $15,000 forgivable loan agreement.
• Approved an updated job description and wage for the city’s plant maintenance supervisor as requested by the DeWitt Downtown Improvement District. The wage will increase from $15.99 to $18 an hour. The job has expanded over the years to include managing an employee and working with Central DeWitt High School to determine what to plant. In addition, the supervisor also oversees the proper care of the city’s plants and flowers.
• Approved up to $60,000 for the repair and maintenance of two wells with Northway Well & Pump Co. Originally the city had budgeted $40,000 for this year’s well service project and the quote came in at $58,778. “It’s the way of the world right now,” Lindner said of the increase. “It’s work that has to be done. We have to take care of our wells. Moving forward, the city will need to budget more for this expense. No well work is expected next year, but is planned for the following year.
• Approved a technical support services agreement with Clinton County Information Technology for the DeWitt Police Department to renew an existing agreement.