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Cityof Antigo Moves Ahead With Resolution To Condemn Blighted Convenience Store

December 16, 2011

Antigo Daily Journal

Antigo Daily Journal

A blighted downtown convenience store must be either cleaned up or it will be torn down at its owner’s expense under a resolution approved by the Antigo Common Council Wednesday.

At its regular monthly meeting, aldermen voted unanimously to commence condemnation proceedings on 803 Superior St., the former SuperAmerica gas station and convenience store, and directed the city attorney to begin the legal action if the property is not brought up to current building codes.

“This is to start the procedure, not to complete it,” Director of Administrative Services Dale Soumis said. “This is the first step.”

Soumis explained that under the terms of the resolution, the property owner must make repairs to the exterior and remove the deteriorated pumps and light fixtures.

If the work is not done in a timely manner, the city could move in and demolish the property as an “attractive nuisance,” meaning it is ripe for vandalism, illegal activities and creates general health hazards. The cost of the process would be charged back to the property owner on the tax bill.

Renting the city-owned Edison Club will become a bit less cumbersome under a resolution that won easy approval by aldermen. It grants authority to rent the building to the Economic Development Committee, rather than requiring action by the full council.

The building has flickered back to life as a large entertainment venue in recent weeks and the city is in the process of developing plans to offer it for sale and return it to private hands. But renting it has required approval by the full common council, which has created some scheduling setbacks and, in one case, forced a quick special meeting almost on the eve of a planned event.

In a related move aldermen accepted a proposal from Kulp’s of Stratford LLC to put a new roof on the structure for $46,800, plus $1,200 to purchase the additional manufacturer’s 15-year warranty. Dollars will be taken from the public improvement fund.

Aldermen took action to begin building a reserve fund for the reconstruction of Fifth Avenue through downtown, a project that has been pushed back to about 2015. The council unanimously backed a resolution placing repayments from tax incremental finance districts into a special reserve fund to help cover the $3 million estimated cost.

The city has been making up TIF bond payments through its general fund for years as the districts struggled but the areas are beginning to generate sufficient tax dollars to begin repaying the amounts. The approved resolution noted that the city’s general fund “is currently in good financial condition” and redirected the money to the major reconstruction project.

The city’s reconfiguration of its police and fire departments, a move started as a cost-saving measure at budget time, formally has a director following council action.

The council ratified Mayor Bill Brandt’s appointment of Police Chief Eric Roller to the new position as of Jan. 1.

Related resolutions set the public safety director’s annual salary at $82,075 while keeping the fire chief’s salary, which will becomes subordinate position frozen at its current level for four years to establish parity. The position of police captain was adjusted.

In other matters, aldermen:

—approved 2012 health and dental insurance rates through its self-funded plan. Monthly health premiums range from $1,589 for family to $593 for single coverage. Dental starts at $26 for single and tops out at $93.60 for family coverage.

—inked a series of utility budgets for 2012 pending formal action to raise water and sewer rates sometime next year.

—entered into an agreement with Eastview Medical and Rehabilitation Center that will pay the city ambulance service $201 for non-emergency transports of patients from Langlade Hospital to the nursing facility.

—accepted bids for gasoline and diesel fuel purchases and squad car service. Draeger Oil Company won the fuel bid for 10.3 cents off the pump price plus the BP gas card rebate of an additional 3 percent off the pump price. Marty’s Shell will service squad cars for $39.95 per month per vehicle.

—purchased a ground thawer and generator costing up to $3,000 for winter grave openings.

—authorized the Police Department to buy a digital SLR camera costing up to $3,500 to assist in evidence collection.

—and adjusted guidelines to the popular facade grant program to reflect that work done prior to 30 days of the application’s approval is not eligible for reimbursement. A related resolution appropriated an additional $20,000 to the program.

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