LONG CREEK - By a 4-0 vote, the Long Creek City Council agreed to pursue a land purchase for possible development of an industrial park within the city limits.
On a motion by Charles Born and a second by Amy Kreger, the council voted unanimously on March 13 to seek recovery of industrially zoned property in the northwest corner of town. City leaders decided to proceed with buying a 17.5-acre defunct sawmill site from Emerald International Inc.
In a second 4-0 vote, the city council also established terms of the purchase. These terms include Emerald International's agreement to accept liability for contamination at the site and the company's willingness to dismantle all assets on the property, including the mill building, prior to the city buying the land.
City attorney Michelle Timko of Fossil met with the city council in a closed executive session prior to the open session to discuss matters pertaining to a possible mill site acquisition. City leaders say the city has kept the original $36,000 that Emerald International paid for the land.
Registered voters who live in the city were given a chance to comment on the land purchase prior to the council's action. On Feb. 11, the city council revealed results of a survey, which showed that 39 of 119 people polled said they supported the city repurchasing the 17.5-acre mill site from Emerald International; 18 said they opposed the repurchase. The remainder of citizens surveyed failed to respond.
Success of the purchase will depend on negotiations with Emerald International. One provision of the city's terms for purchase is that any litigation concerning this property must take place within Grant County.
In other business:
The city council decided to scale back hours at Long Creek's garbage transfer station. Leaders decided unanimously to eliminate Wednesdays from the transfer station schedule.
The city charges a residential rate of $15 a month for bagged garbage. With a $1,500 state permit fee, tipping fees at Arlington and trucking and personnel costs, the city has lost money on the transfer station, according to city leaders. After discussion last month, the city council agreed on March 13 to trim three hours a week from the schedule, saving the city about $24 a week in wages.
The transfer station will remain open on Saturdays and Sundays for a total of seven hours. New hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturdays and 1-4 p.m. on Sundays.
The city council agreed to clarify its water shut-off and billing policy for disconnected or delinquent utility users. By a 4-0 vote, the city council agreed to repeal a resolution that was deemed confusing and to work on cleaning up the language of an ordinance that explains the process for disconnecting delinquent water users.
A total of 123 accounts will be affected by any changes to the ordinance. At the March city council meeting, leaders agreed that they did not envision any drastic changes to past practice but simply a codification of the city's informal process for dealing with late accounts. Currently, water users face a $10 fee after a temporary water turnoff pending payment of a tardy bill. However, when the problem of nonpayment persists, typically after three months have passed, the city will charge a $450 fee for restoring service following a city council vote to lock a customer's water meter.
For more information, call Long Creek City Hall at 421-3601.