Apartment Rehab Gets Green Light
The Britton City Council was informed at its regular meeting on Monday that the way is clear for work to begin on rehabilitating the Leewood Apartments located on the southwest side of Britton.
At its regular meeting in December the council had unanimously approved the purchase of the apartments for $70,000, plus current property taxes of $8,973.98, from Reliabank of Watertown. Reliabank had purchased the property at public auction in September for about $153,000, which included back taxes.
After purchase of the property, the city gave it to the Britton Development Corporation, which in turn is gifting it to SLH Holdings of Brookings. SLH, which has done similar projects around the state, has funding in place and plans on spending about $1.3 million to completely gut the inside of the structure down to the studs and put in new electrical, plumbing, and fixtures. Part of the plan includes involving local contractors to do much of the work.
A meeting with contractors was held on Friday and hopes are to begin the remodeling process next month.
A total of 16 apartments, including two with three bedrooms, will be available and will be managed by SLH. The apartment complex has been vacant for about 20 years.
In other action the council passed a resolution to add a $5.16 surcharge to monthly sewer bills for the storm sewer project scheduled for this summer. The surcharge will take effect on Feb. 1 and is required to pay for the $845,000 revenue bond to fund the project. It will continue until the 40-year loan is paid in full.
On a related issue the council amended city policy that eliminated the provision of a $5 monthly charge for water and sewer for those who turn off water in their home while absent. In the future those ho meowners will still have to pay the minimum water and sewer rates of $57.75 per month. Other 2021 policies were approved with no fundamental changes.
The board approved a three percent cost of living raise for all city employees. It also approved the hiring of temporary part-time snow plow op erators at $17 per hour to be used if needed. Salary for City Attorney Justin Scott of Aberdeen was approved at $24,000, and discussion on paying a salary for an airport manager was tabled until the February meeting.
The board approved an annual maintenance contract of $1,950 to CDJ Electric, Plumbing & Heating for the HVAC system, and approved the purchase of 10 new tables and carrier for the Event Center for $1,280.45. It also raised the credit card limit for the Public Works Supervisor to $10,000 to cover emergency expenses.
A short discussion was held on possible acquisition of land located adjacent to the public library to allow for expansion in the future and for an area for children’s activities. The council will look into the issue.
Council members were informed that a check in the amount of $23,918.68 had been received from the Donald Naddy fund for installation of an elevator in the Event Center. Finance Officer Marie Marlow also told the council that the city had received $778,358 in sales tax revenues for 2020, which was $128,358 over the amount that had been budgeted. The city has also received over $100,000 in COVID-19 grants and in 2020 took in a total of $285,000 more revenue than budgeted.
An executive session was held for 20 minutes on economic development. Upon resuming regular session no action was taken.
Next meeting for the council will be Monday, Feb. 8, at 6:30 p.m.