Monona Council tables lot sale discussion

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

At its Dec. 21 meeting, the Monona Council again tabled discussion regarding the purchase and sale of lot two in the Monona Commercial Park to Family Dentistry Associates of Monona for construction of a new office.

The lot, which sits between Fisk’s Farm and Home and the Monona Family Aquatic Center, is 2.14 acres. If the council approves the purchase, a 4,000-square-foot office would be constructed in the southwest corner of the lot. 

A new office will give the practice more space in terms of both treatment rooms and parking, said Dr. Mark Fohey.

Because constructing and outfitting the new office will incur a number of overhead costs, Fohey proposed purchasing the lot for $20,000, then requested 10-year tax abatement on the property.

The council was leery to go with the request, noting that the other two area properties, Fisk’s and the Davis Street Car Wash, did not receive tax abatement. However, the council was unsure whether that was because it was not offered or if the business owners chose not to utilize the incentive.

Mayor Barb Collins questioned whether Fohey would be open to five-year abatement instead, or even waiving the $20,000 lot fee and receiving no tax abatement.

Collins said the city also has to consider what would work well for them. If tax abatement was offered, the $20,000 from the lot sale would come in right away, she said. If not, the city would have to wait until 2018 before the building went on the tax roll.

Wanting to consider the options further, the council agreed to table the decision until its Monday, Jan. 4 meeting. The council will still be required to hold a public hearing before officially accepting an agreement.

Garbage collection

The council also continued discussion on the future of solid waste collection in the city. City workers, who currently collect Monona’s garbage, approached the council in November about purchasing 65-gallon refuse carts and a garbage truck tipper attachment, which they said would make lifting garbage cans easier.

At the time, the council questioned whether the city should consider other garbage collection options. They currently plan to advertise a request for proposals from other companies.

“I understand getting quotes,” said Randy Evanson, speaking on behalf of the city workers, “but we don’t want to lose our garbage route.”

Several business owners also spoke in favor of keeping garbage service local.

“Having dumpster service here in town is convenient,” said Brent Formanek, with Superior Building Center, adding that contacting other companies for help is often a hassle. “You  should be cautious about removing a revenue source from the city.”

Receiving proposals from other companies does not necessarily mean the city will switch from utilizing city workers, said councilman Dan Havlicek. However, the city would like to get a better picture of how they rate, added Collins.

City administrator Dan Canton said households currently pay $18 per month for collection, with $5 of that going to Waste Management for recycling. The city has not increased rates in three to four years, he noted.

No matter what the council decides, that will likely have to change, Havlicek said.

“People are getting a personal, superior service for half the price,” he said.

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