Weston City Council approved a Permit of Highways Agreement for the Polk Creek Bridge replacement at Monday’s meeting.
Finance Manager Dodie Arbogast said Weston will be responsible for $20,000 down at the beginning of the project and will incrementally pay for 20 percent of the costs of the total project. The Division of Highways (DOH) will be responsible for the other 80 percent, as well as the bridge design and construction.
“We really want it done before summer is over, but I have no control over that,” she said.
Local citizens in attendance asked about the detour during the bridge’s construction.
“We tried to find routes that would be, honestly, the most efficient and the least expensive, but it seems that the most reasonable route is going to be the one that takes the road right by the Street Department and cuts through Weatherford on the bottom of Mid Avenue. The biggest problem with that is because of the pedestrians,” Arbogast said. “There’s no way they can cross Polk Creek.”
Initial plans for the project were developed in 2015, but according to Councilman Eric Dever, the costs have risen since their original estimates at that date.
In other news, councilmen held the first reading, by title only, of two city ordinances, the Business and Occupational Privilege Tax ordinance and the Municipal Fee ordinance. The ordinances must pass a second reading and a public comment hearing before they can be implemented. They each passed their first reading.
The changes include eliminating the B&O tax for residential income, and raising the municipal fee for non-owner-occupied residential income to $150 from the current $100, according to Arbogast in an article that was in The Weston Democrat last week. If the changes pass, they will take effect July 1.
Arbogast said citizens who wish to read or obtain a copy of the proposed ordinance changes may contact City Hall.
In other business, Council members opened a public hearing during the meeting regarding abandonment of River Driveway Alley, located between Linden Avenue and Winter Avenue.
City Manager Kristen Droppleman said the city has not kept up with the alley and needs to either take responsibility for its upkeep or abandon it. Council members decided to abandon it, but Councilman Justin Roy did not vote because he was presiding over the meeting in the absence of Mayor Julia Spelsberg.
Droppleman said residents at one household in the area are interested in taking responsibility for the upkeep. The alleyway runs behind three homes, and all property owners affected were notified. Droppleman said another resident told her she didn’t want anything to do with the alleyway or its upkeep and supplied a notarized letter.
Weston Fire Chief Kenny James clarified that a countywide decision to cut back on non-essential services offered by fire departments would not impact The Weston Fire Department and its operations within the city. He said the department will continue as normal.
The councilmen held the second reading regarding the implementation of a $10 fee for fingerprinting services. In clarifying a citizen’s question, Droppleman said the fingerprinting would not be mandatory for residents.
Almost Heaven BBQ Bash organizer Jody Light offered an update on the progress for this year’s event. She said team registrations are now open, and it already has attracted 20 teams from nine states, as well as several out-of-area judges. She said plans are coming along nicely for the event, which she anticipates will draw a crowd from all over to Weston.
Public Works Director Jacob Culver said an organization was interested in hosting a chainsaw safety training course in Weston, which would be open to participation from areas outside the county. He said plans were preliminary and it is not certain if Weston will be chosen as the location, but he was contacted to see if officials had any interest in it and had an available site for it.
The course would be $100 per person, but Culver said he has opened negotiations to allow two city employees to attend the training for the price of one. If the course comes to Weston, it could take place mid-April.
Council members made a motion to allow two Municipal Works members to attend the potential training course.
Council members adopted the 2015 International Building Codes.
Walkersville resident and decorated Korean War veteran Benny Shifflett proposed a resolution designating Weston as a Purple Heart City, which was unanimously approved.
Weston also adopted a proclamation observing Cardiac Rehabilitation Week.