Matt Wetrich appointed to Jeff city council

Matt Wetrich

Matt Wetrich, 38, of Jefferson was appointed by the Jefferson city council at Tuesday’s regular meeting to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Dan Benitz in May.

Wetrich was the only eligible person to indicate an interest in the position. He narrowly lost a bid to unseat incumbent Lisa Jaskey in the 2015 election. After Jaskey resigned due to relocation, he again ran in a special election last November for the second ward seat but was defeated by Benitz.

The seat will be on the ballot in the November 2017 city election. The person elected then will serve until the original term expires in 2019. Wetrich will have the option to run in that election.

During the council reports portion of the meeting, Larry Teeples, a member of the park and recreation commission, reported that paint chipping off part of the swimming pool may be due to incorrect preparation of the concrete prior to painting. ACCO, the company that prepped the concrete and painted the pool a year ago, is doing testing. There is no written guarantee in place, but the commission is hopeful that ACCO will stand behind its work, particularly since the company also supplies all the pool chemicals.

Swimmers have cut their feet on the chipped portions but there have been no medical claims against the city. Park and rec director Vicky Lautner purchased swim shoes that swimmers can use at no charge, but according to Teeples, they aren’t being used.

“Vicky (Lautner) seems to be handling it pretty well,” said Dave Sloan, also a member of the park and recreation commission.

The new animal shelter is “at a little bit of a standstill,” reported Sloan, chair of the animal shelter committee.

He said the county has minimized its involvement, making it a city project. Don Orris now has reservations about the ability to raise the money needed to build the shelter, even with the plans scaled back some from the first proposal. The committee is now looking at a different type of building and the possibility of the high school construction class working on it.

In other business, the city council approved the purchase of a dilapidated house at 305 E. Vest St for the purpose of neighborhood improvement. Building/zoning officer Nick Sorenson told the council the house has been a nuisance issue and the owners, Gary and Joyce Anschutz, have been taken to court more than once on code violations. The proposed purchase price is $3,000.

The city will demolish the house. “If you drive down Vest St, with the exception of this house and a select few others, the street is really improving. The properties are turning around, they’re getting a lot better,” Sorenson said. “To take this one out would really help the neighborhood a lot.”

The council approved the first change order for the downtown façade restoration project that started just two weeks ago. The change order for $14,080 is for a subcontractor to do asbestos removal. That amount was not included in the original contract with Pinnacle Construction. The payment will be taken from the amount added to the project as a contingency.

The council waived review of the plat of survey for splits of two properties outside the city limits but within the 2-mile buffer. Those properties – a parcel on M Ave owned by the Andrew Foster Trust, and one on Highway 4 south of 210th St and owned by the Ebersole family – are being split to allow for construction of indoor/outdoor hog buildings. Neither building will have a capacity large enough to require master matrix scoring by the county supervisors.

The council approved the plat of survey for the parcel in the city limits on which Shopko stands. James R. Bingham, owner of the property, is splitting the property so he can sell the portion to the south (now farm ground) without also selling the Shopko property.

The council approved fireworks permits for Terry Semke at 1202 S. Grimmell Road and Roger Chesler at 1202 W. Lincoln Way, with an amendment to the permit that they be valid only for two dates each. Semke’s application was for five days, July 1-5. Chesler’s permit application was for July 1-8.

The city council also approved the third reading of an ordinance to amend the municipal code to increase deposits on new utility accounts from $100 to $150; and approved the hiring of Teresa Chapman as utility billing clerk at a rate of $12.92/hour starting July 10.


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