PdC council takes steps toward development agreement with True Value

By Correne Martin

The Prairie du Chien Common Council has taken another step toward a proposed development agreement with Nelson True Value to build a new store along Highway 35/Marquette Road, just north of Walgreens.

During the council’s regular meeting Tuesday night, a resolution transferring surplus funds from TID #6 to TID #4 was approved unanimously, completing the final phase of transferring funds related to the settlement between the city and Thomas Gialamas and Martin Rifken.

The terms of the settlement haven’t been released yet. Legal action was originally filed June 7, 2013, by the city, against four defendants Martin Rifken, Block 43 LLC, and Thomas G. Gialamas, all of Madison, and the Madison Office Fund LLC, of Milwaukee. The lawsuit alleged that the defendants and their actions impeded upon a signed development agreement that originated in 2008, relating to the Block 43 parcel north of Walgreens in Prairie du Chien. In the suit, the city sought over $300,000 in damages and a declaratory judgement, as well as reconveyance of the real estate.

With a settlement reached, the council decided Tuesday night to set a special council  meeting, in closed session, for the purpose of addressing the proposed development agreement between the city and Nelson True Value/Marquette Haydn Properties LLC. The meeting is planned for Tuesday, May 27 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers.

Public nuisances andproperty maintenance
Public nuisances and property maintenance were also hot topics at the council meeting. Though it was only a first reading, discussion was held on an ordinance that would modify the current municipal code, outlining expectations for public nuisances and property maintenance, establishing a more efficient enforcement procedure, creating an appeals process for those cited, and setting minimum levels of property standards.

The proposed change, which will require a second reading at the June 3 council meeting, is that the mayor will direct the city attorney to start action in municipal court for abatement of the nuisance, if the nuisance isn’t removed within 30 days. Previously, this has only been an option for the mayor. Upon approval of a second reading, it would become a required mayoral move.

Water rate increase possible
The idea of increasing the city’s water rate was proposed Tuesday night. The last increase of 3 percent occurred five years ago. Discussion was held on the process for applying to the Public Service Commission (PSC) for a water rate increase. Unanimous council action was to direct staff to move forward with an application to the PSC.

Marquette Road project traffic
Looking ahead to upcoming meetings of the council or committees, Alderman Kyle Kozelka asked that the public works committee meet May 27 to discuss the traffic control signs for the Marquette Road project. Alderman Todd Myers said he would also like the committee to discuss the business directional signage. In addition, Alderman Ron Leys asked for an update on the city’s emergency plan, specifically regarding an oil train derailment.

Other business
In other action Tuesday night, the council voted to:

•After closed session, reject the claim of former police officer Heather Gokey for reimbursement of $1,426.98 in medical deductibles and co-pays incurred after her employment with the city ended, but she remained on the city’s health insurance plan at her expense.

•Approve the payment of $17,622.12 to City Planner Garth Frable, with those funds paid to the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds, for the purpose of fulfilling the obligations of the 2010 employment agreement with Frable. Frable has provided proof to the city that the transaction to the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds has been completed within 30 days of him receiving the payment, and the city has assumed no income tax liability in the transaction.

•Approve issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) involving the Stratton property at the southwest corner of the intersection of Blackhawk Avenue and Main Street. The city is looking for a qualified developer to purchase and improve the property. All development proposals that contemplate a future use of the property compatible with the surrounding neighborhood will be considered.

•Reject one bid received ($488,975) for the Brunson Court project. The bid exceeded the budget for the project ($458,000). With this action, the council also authorized a new bidding, with more alternate components, delaying the project to later this summer or fall.

•Approve moving ahead with the Brunson Street project, which was a contingency portion of the Woodridge Acres/22nd Street project, with a budget of $247,290.75. City Administrator Aaron Kramer said he would recommend the money budgeted for landscaping the detention pond in Woodridge Acres be reduced, or additional funds be applied from TID #6.

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