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NC puts 2nd read on hold

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

A utility expansion ordinance for the City of New Castle was placed on hold Monday night by the city commission. The commission did so at the suggestion of City Attorney Joe Yates. Yates recommended the city give approximately 12 property owners a chance to enter into an agreement with the city in which the owners would sign statements that they would not oppose any possible future annexation. In return, those property owners would be able to tap onto the city's current water and sewer lines for $750, instead of the $1,500 proposed in the ordinance. City Clerk Lynn Adams stressed that the city has no plans for annexation. "After we adopt this, if someone hooks on, it's going to cost them $1,500 plus our connect charges," Yates said. "This is just a suggestion for the commission's consideration." Utilities director Scot Treece said there are thirteen properties that could be affected, but just one owner has approached him about connecting to the city's utilities. "I have one person that actually came a couple of months ago that was concerned and asking about hooking up (to the utilities)," he said. "She might be one that would be interested. I know several would be a definite no." Of the thirteen properties, which include a business that recently closed, Treece said some were located on LaGrange Road, some on Eminence Road and one on Sulphur road. Yates said he would draft a letter that would be sent to property owners, some of whom live out of state, giving them a deadline to agree to the proposition. Adams said the commission will hold the second reading of the ordinance at its February meeting. In other business, the commission: • selected the CDP engineering firm for the city's South Main sewer project. • discussed, again, blighted properties in the city. Yates said he did not contact owners of the properties in question because he wanted to make a suggestion to the commission first. Yates proposed a blighted/abandoned building tax similar to what Eminence passed earlier this year. The commission agreed the blighted/abandoned building tax would be good for the city. Yates said he would draft a sample ordinnance. • heard from Main Street Renaissance Manager Jeff Thoke, who said he was researching to see what funding is available for the Locker renovation. Thoke said the city did not receive funding from GOLD for the cycle that ends March 30. He added that he was planning to meet with Representative Rick Rand to see what funding opportunities might be available.