City extends declaration, deadline for demolition

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The City of Schulenburg’s Declaration of Local Disaster due to the COVID-19 pandemic will remain in effect until those enacted by the state and Fayette County are removed.

Prior to the unanimous 5-0 vote by the City Council at Monday’s regular meeting, City Administrator Tami Walker said the wording was recommended by City Attorney Monte Akers to avoid continuing to take action for future extensions.

A public health emergency was first declared for the city on March 23. It was subsequently extended to April 20.

In other business from Monday’s 37-minute meeting, the Council extended the deadline for removal of the house, building, and asbestos at 119 Summit St. that was part of a land exchange agreement between the City and Elgin Kristinik.

Walker said an email was received from Kristinik asking for an extension to June 1 because he would be unable to meet the agreed-upon deadline. Walker presented the reasons given for delays in the work to the Council.

The agreement, dated Nov. 18, 2019, involved the City acquiring the lot owned by Kristinik at the corner of Summit Street (Highway 90) and Demel Avenue. During negotiations last year, Walker said a rock sign for the south entrance to the Sports Complex could be put on the property.

In exchange, Kristinik receives a City-owned plot on Demel Avenue adjacent to his Prime Products plant. Last March, he indicated that corporate offices for Prime would be built on that lot.

Alderman Larry Veselka suggested giving Kristinik until July 1 to complete the demolition work and his motion passed 5-0.

Also unanimously approved was changing the Council’s meeting time from 7 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Regular meetings will remain on the first and third Mondays each month.

Walker brought up altering the meeting schedule, saying there’s not much going on but other concerns may arise. With sales tax revenue dropping, she mentioned the possibility of addressing funding for planned projects.

Zoning Board of Adjustments Chairman Ona Marak reported on an application for a front-side set-back variance from Jose Hernandez. He requested it be reduced from 25 feet to 15 feet for the purpose of building a carport at 111 Baumgarten St.

Marak told the Council that the ZBA met on April 6 and approved the variance request 4-0. The vote came after Hernandez addressed concerns that were brought up by citizens, she said. Mayor Elaine Kocian stated that no action by the City Council was required and the decision by the ZBA was final.

During Walker’s report, Alderman Chip Bubela asked about the status of street work on the north side of town. Walker said projects like that have been on hold since the City crew was divided and put on a staggered schedule. Plans are to keep that in place through April 30, she said, with the hope to get back to a full staff in May. Then, work on Herder Avenue and the north side can resume, Walker said.

Alderman Geoffrey Schiffli said he had contacted Walker about the need to examine City projects with the projected loss of revenue. He said he plans to bring up the topic at upcoming meetings.