City starts process to eliminate a road in name only
Forest St. was planned to run next to Ogden St., but was never built
The city of Medford began the process of vacating Forest Street between Fourth and Seventh streets in the Morning Side Addition.
City planner Bob Christensen told the council at its committee-of-the-whole meeting Tuesday night when the Morning Side Addition was platted in the 1800s, they platted a street called Forest Street, which was never constructed. He said Ogden Street was eventually constructed 100 feet north of where Forest Street had been platted.
Christensen said one of the problems is once a plat is set up for a street, it becomes city property and most of the houses along the south side of Ogden Street are constructed in the Forest Street right-of-way. He said after discussion with city personnel, it was decided to clean up the problem. Christensen said the area to the east of Seventh Street was cleaned up by an assessor’s plat in 1992, but it would be more cost effective for the city to just vacate Forest Street.
Council member Clem Johnson asked why wasn’t the whole thing corrected in 1992. Christensen said that was before he became city planner and he didn’t know why it wasn’t done then. City clerk Virginia Brost and city coordinator John Fales remembered there was some sort of issue with properties to the east of Seventh Street, but couldn’t remember the details or why the entire issue wasn’t corrected at the time.
Christensen briefly explained the process for vacating a street, stating it was a lengthy process that would take most of the winter to complete.
The council approved purchasing three new emergency warning sirens from Federal Warning Systems at a price of $34,650 for the sirens plus an installation cost of $15,300, which includes new poles, for a total cost of $49,950.
Street and water superintendent Joe Harris said most of the other municipalities in Taylor County have either installed new sirens or are in the process of replacing their sirens and that the new sirens would be the same make and model that the other municipalities have in operation.
Dave Roiger said he thought the county was moving away from sirens in favor of the Code Red telephone notifi cations. Fales said he had spoken to the county about that but there was no definite plans to do so. He went on to say from a liability standpoint, the city has continued to try and keep its sirens working using parts taken from old sirens that other municipalities in the county are replacing, but it comes to the point where the sirens need to be replaced.
The money for the new sirens will come from the city’s undesignated reserve fund.
During the common council meeting prior to the committee-of-the-whole meeting, the council approved amending the engineering contract for the sewer plant upgrade to include preparing a facility plan.
Fales said the wastewater utility submitted its plans for the project to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for review and was notified that it would also need to include a facility plan of what the city’s longterm goals were. He said the city hadn’t needed one when it did the filtration upgrade just prior to this and was surprised that the DNR was requesting it now. Fales said Donohue & Associates, the city’s engineers, have been scrambling to get the plan ready to be submitted to the DNR by the end of the year.
Mayor Mike Welner added the original cost by Donohue for preparing the facilities plan had been $32,000, but that Fales had negotiated the cost down to $12,000, saving the city $20,000.
The council approved a tax mill rate for 2020 of $25.53 per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of $1.25 over the 2019 rate of $24.28. The 2020 tax on a $100,000 home will be $2,553.46, an increase of $125.82.
While the city’s overall tax revenue for 2020 increased by $125,503, the amount that came from city taxpayers decreased by $16,000. Fales said this was due to the property the city was selling to A& M Dittrich came off the tax roll, which was valued at $6 million, and the reduction in property taxes from the Walmart settlement. As a result, more of the tax burden has been shifted to homeowners.