Jeff council okays purchase of third downtown building

200 E. State St
200 E. State St

The Jefferson city council is continuing in the real estate business with the purchase of the corner building at 200 E. State St.

The council at its April 12 meeting approved a purchase agreement with Bank of the West at a cost of $100. City attorney Bob Schwarzkopf told the council the city will realize a net gain in the sale as property taxes due are made current.

The city was given the building at 205 N. Wilson along with $5,000 toward its repair last summer. Jefferson Matters: Main Street unsuccessfully applied for a $75,000 Challenge Grant to cover repair. The city plans to complete work with its own funds.

The city purchased the former Linda’s Fashions building at 111 E. Lincoln Way last September at a cost of $50 and closing costs. The city used Brown Field funds for asbestos abatement, but on April 12 the council approved a bid of $30,400 from Grell Roofing of Fort Dodge for a new roof. The final cost of the roof is unknown until the amount of sheeting needed is determined.

City officials have determined in every case that the certainty of further deterioration of the buildings as they await purchase by private entities has required the city to take action to save the viability of the downtown district. It is the city’s intention to sell the buildings once they are rehabilitated and recoup those costs.

City administrator Mike Palmer said there is a buyer interested in the E. Lincoln Way building when that work is complete. No interest has been shown in the other two buildings, he said.

Building inspector Nick Sorensen has not yet completed inspection of the building on  State St, , but he said the building will be easier to work on than the Lincoln Way building. He said the roof will leak very soon but does not have a gaping hole, like the Lincoln Way building. “If we’re going to get in to doing this, my recommendation is you put a new roof on every single building. Every single building here has roofing issues, and that’s where the building starts to deteriorate. We just as well plan on a new roof,” Sorensen said.

He said the roof has a rubber coating that is torn and likely to leak on the next good rain.

The purchase agreement has a 45 day window to allow inspections to be completed before closing. The agreement was approved unanimously. “We have to approve this. We can’t let these buildings go,” council member Larry Teeples said in making the motion.

Palmer said the city would need to do a budget amendment of the 2017 budget (FY 17 begins July 1) to cover the cost of work on the State St building. The work could amount to $50,000 or so, he said.

In other business, the council:

  • Approved the appointments of Mike Piepel and Jane Martino to the Jefferson public library board of trustees to replace Bob Lutz, who passed away recently, and Laura Ballard, whose term expires June 30.
  • Approved hiring Randy Antonen as a part-time animal shelter custodian at an hourly wage of $7.25.
  • Approved hiring Eric Fisher as a fulltime water service worker at a starting wage of $32,926 annually.
  • Set a public hearing for April 26 at 5:30 pm on a pair of development agreements with Mark Bauer Development Company LLC and Tri-County Cash Lumber Mart Inc for the Briarwood subdivision and Lincoln Ridge Estates on the west edge of the city. The agreements call for payments not to exceed $1.5 million over the next 20 years.
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