Council hears report of housing study meeting

Posted March 29, 2013 at 4:58 pm

Miller’s City Council held its second meeting of the month March 18, with all members present.

LaDonna Wharton, On Hand Development Corporation executive director, reported on the Housing Study community meeting held March 10. Sixty-eight attended the presentation, and 50 stayed for the strategy planning that followed. Originally, seven topics were zeroed in on, including need for a “resource center,” suggested by Doug DeBoer. That “center” would have information for potential renters regarding living quarters available, and other housing-related information.

Wharton said the scope of topics was eventually narrowed to four: work-force housing; building/rehabilitating rental housing; substandard rentals; and dilapidated lots.

She suggested a “code enforcer” who would act on housing and ordinance issues, and said it would be necessary to have backing from the City and County. Miller Mayor Ron Blachford commented, “We need everyone to work toward the goal of available and affordable housing.”

Department heads gave their reports.

Bill Lewellen, electric department, discussed what to do with scrap wire; it was the consensus of the Council to put the wire on the auction next fall.

Lewellen said the electric project should get underway again by mid-April. Presently, the electric department is marking transformer and switch locations and obtaining easements.

Jim Bonebright, water-sewer/airport, reported the generator the hospital had donated to the City, needs repair and parts are unavailable, so the decision was made to not try to fix it.

Bonebright and Mayor Blachford will meet with State officials and engineers regarding rebuilding the Miller Airport runway in 2014.

Bonebright also listed several projects to be undertaken during the summer, as well as a spring project on water backup problems.

Street department head Ron Hoftiezer reported he has been offered use of a 65 horsepower tractor and a tractor-style mower by GreenLine Implement (John Deere). For the tractor, the only cost would be for insurance. The City would also pay $12 per hour of use, but that amount is refundable as a trade-in on oil, filters and parts for other machinery. The mower would be free for hours used.

Hoftiezer attended a required mining safety health administration class, and also completed the pesticide recertification classes. He will order larvicide briquettes for mosquito control, and said potholes in the City streets will be filled when conditions are right to do so.

Police officer Wayne Ames reported that, for the fifth year, Officer Chris Henrickson is holding DARE training for fifth-grade students.

Ames instructed taser training for police and sheriff personnel, and will give baton training in early April.

Laura Smith, outgoing City Finance Officer, noted she has been researching ordinances, and working on making changes to utility deposits and how delinquent and shut-off bills are handled. New finance officer, Sheila Coss, began her duties March 18.

The Council set April 1 for two hearings: a variance hearing allowing Justin Sell to place a garage beyond the allowed lot line; and a hearing on an application to transfer alcoholic beverage licenses from George Quinlan, The Virginian, Inc., to Kourtney Jungemann, The Virginian.

Building permits were approved for Justin Sell to remove a house, and for Tim and Diana Goetz to remove a deck and replace with a four-season porch.

The Council also approved two resolutions: one stating no City election will be held, because no opposing candidates file for the office of mayor, or for as council member for Wards 1, 2 and 3; and one declaring municipal property of two breathalyzer sensors as surplus.