City names new building official
By RICK MORAIN
For The Jefferson Herald
The Jefferson city council on Sept. 22 approved the hiring of Chad Stevens as the new city building and zoning official.
Stevens, a longtime area resident, will replace Nick Sorensen in that position. Sorensen has accepted an economic development position in Ames.
Stevens’ annual salary will be $55,000. He will begin his employment with the city on Monday.
Stevens is a former Ralston city councilman and mayor. He has also served as a lay leader at the Scranton United Methodist Church and as Cubmaster for Cub Scout Pack 534. He lives between Grand Junction and Beaver.
Stevens has worked with Region 12 Council of Governments (COG) on housing rehabilitation, updating city ordinances, comprehensive planning, hazard mitigation and incident management training.
In other action, the council approved a lease with the Gravitate firm for first-floor space at 202 E. State St. The space is in the east half of the city-owned corner building at State and Chestnut streets. The west half is leased to Heartland Bank.
Gravitate will operate a co-working space in the building to provide space for businesses that now work from home, for out-of-town business people who want space in Jefferson from time to time, and for similar other businesses and organizations.
For the duration of the 24-month lease, Gravitate will pay the city $1,000 per month rent and $1,985.65 per month for improvements the city is making to the office space. The lease will begin when the improvements are substantially completed.
The council placed on third reading and adopted proposed ordinances to increase water, wastewater, and residential and commercial solid waste collection rates.
Water and wastewater rates will increase by 3 percent. The base water rate will go up by 34 cents per month, from $11.17 to $11.51, and the base wastewater rate will increase by 55 cents per month, from $18.48 to $19.03.
The residential solid waste rate will increase by $1 per month, from $10.45 to $11.45. Commercial solid waste rates will also go up.
In addition, recycling collection rates will go up.
Residential recycling will increase by $1 per month, from $3.70 to $4.70, and commercial businesses will pay a basic recycling fee of $4.70 per month.
The council placed on first reading an ordinance to provide residents a free, four-cubic-yard dumpster at any time during the year for bulky rubbish, in place of the annual fall and spring cleanups in the city. (See related story in today’s Herald.) Before they take effect, city ordinances must be read three times and then published in The Jefferson Herald.
The council placed on first reading an ordinance to reduce the speed limit on Grimmell Road to 35 mph instead of the current 45 mph between the Union Pacific railroad tracks and U.S. Highway 30, due to increased traffic adjacent to the new high school and career academy.
The council placed on first reading an ordinance to allow for off-road utility vehicles on city streets. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are not included in the proposed ordinance. The ordinance was recommended by the city’s police committee.
Council member Darren Jackson, reporting for the city’s cat committee, proposed that the city increase its annual payment to PAWS by $2,500 to help fund neutering of trapped cats. The council took the proposal under advisement.
The city’s zoning review committee is considering changing the requirements covering set-backs of buildings from the street.
At the end of the meeting, the council held its budget priority workshop for the 2021-22 fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2021.
Topping the list of priorities were water and sewer line improvements, with other high-ranking items listed as the animal shelter, housing and obtaining grants. Next were code enforcement, economic development, the neighborhood improvement program and organizational efficiency.
At the bottom of the list were cemetery improvements.
Other items ranking toward the bottom were the swimming pool, the proposed three-block development area west of the business district, and sidewalk replacement.