Council hears update on proposed BID project

By Carol Walker

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With the Christmas holiday falling on Monday, the regular city council meeting was moved to Wednesday, Dec. 27, with a fairly short agenda for the meeting.

Brett McMacken, city administrator, gave an update on the Business Improvement District (BID) Board meeting, presenting to the council a resolution of intent to create Business Improvement District A. McMacken gave copies of the resolution to each council member to review over the next couple weeks with the intent putting it on the agenda as an action item at the Jan. 8 meeting.

“We have had 10 or 11 meetings, a lot of good meetings with good brainstorming. The board has done a good job of wrestling with the challenges inherent in this process,” said McMacken.

A revenue bond is proposed to pay for the $400,000 project, which would allow for immediate funding for the work. Any hotel establishment, which according to state law means 11 or more sleeping rooms, within the BID, would charge an additional $2 occupation tax per room, per night to cover the cost of the annual debt service on the bond.

When it was asked if all the hotel owners are on board with the occupation tax, Vic Alexander replied that all of them are in concurrence with the idea. Alexander owns the Super 8, and Buzz Grover and Shane Schrier, two motel/hotel owners, are actually on the BID Board and are in agreement with the project. The owner of the Lantern Inn has been contacted and is in agreement with projects that benefit the community.

As has been covered previously in the Hill City Prevailer, the project will include public restrooms in a Hill City Senior Center addition, the removal of Lewis Park restrooms, racquetball court and tennis court fencing, relocation of the old log building, asphalting the alley and tennis courts, installing welcome signage, creation of a restroom walkway from Main St. The Boy Scouts, Evergreen Garden Club and the Lions Club all use the log building, and a new location for the building has not yet been determined.

Ultimately, the final decision on the BID lies with the city council and will be discussed at the next council meeting on Jan. 8. In accordance with the BID process, a public meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 26, at 5:30 p.m. at city hall. The next BID Board meeting, which is open to the public, will be Thursday, Jan. 11, at 5 p.m. at city hall.

Councilwoman Kathy Skorzewski reported that Planning and Zoning (P&Z) had lengthy discussion at their last meeting regarding an ordinance for Jake Brakes and members are in avor of moving forward with this.

“This has come up before, a few years ago. Now, having a development service coordinator, we are able to tackle things like this. We are meeting with deputies and the representatives from the logging association. They are not opposed to muffling the brakes, but they do not want to see the elimination of them,” said McMacken.

The P&Z also is discussing affordable housing in Hill City in accordance with the Comprehensive Plan created for Hill City. Mayor Julie Wickware-Klein said we need to determine the definition for “affordable housing” in Hill City because it can mean different things to different people.

“We have it in the 2018 budget, a housing study. The state will do it for us,” said McMacken.

He also said Ron Walker reported on programs being implemented in Deadwood that offer tax rebates and incentives to homeowners in their community when they make improvements on their homes or rentals.

Jim Peterson suggested the city look at a calling tree implemented by the Hill City Senior Center that can call hundreds of people in a short amount of time. He believes it could be useful in emergencies. McMacken said in the past they looked into something called Code Red which would essentially do just that.

In other business, Wickware-Klein reported that a list has been compiled for projects in the works in each department of city government, and in January, she plans to do a drive-around with Public Works Director Dennis Schrier to see first-hand some of the projects. She also said that artwork by Deb Casey is on display at city hall.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 8, at 5:30 p.m. at city hall.

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