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Ray commission receives update on motel project


Posted 12/15/15 (Tue)

Ray commission receives update on motel project

By Traci Papineau
The Ray City Commission Monday night referenced an email update on the Skywatch Inn project from Ryan Whitefield, group representative.
According to Whitefield, two lenders are still interested with one lender requesting a site visit in the near future and the other ordering a certified appraisal. A national franchise “flag” is still being sought and negotiations are still in the works. 
Engineering plans and permits remain a concern of the commission. 
Whitefield’s email states that final drawings are days away, with the intention of contacting the county and city soon to discuss extension of building permits.
City Engineer Lonni Fleck notified Whitefield the city is in the process of reviewing the Developers Agreement originally signed by landowner Randy Semingson and that there will be an updated draft presented to the group after it is reviewed and approved by the commission at their January meeting. 
Fleck stated in her return email to Whitefield that “The City is interested in seeing this project move forward but given the historical progress, needs assurances for completion.”  
The commission will consider a building permit extension only with an updated agreement.
Rhonda Rustad was appointed the new Ray City auditor effective next month and as the Clerk of Court immediately. Retired auditor, Kim Steffan, was approved to return on a part-time basis and will work less than 30 hours per week. Steffan was also given a $2,000 retirement bonus. 
Public Works Director Jim Dickey negotiated a new contract which was approved by the commission. The commission also voted to increase wages for most city employees by 2.5 percent. Steffan will work for the same hourly wage, prorated, with no raise.
Street cut and excavation fees
Considerable discussion ensued over changes proposed to fees for street cuts and excavation. 
Previously, engineers had to be called in to inspect the proper execution of these activities, at considerable expense.
The street cut fee had been set at $2,500 and excavation fee at $500. 
Public Works Director Jim Dickey is now available to supervise and handle these inspections, saving the city a considerable expense, leading to a vote to decrease the fees to $500 for street cuts and $500 for excavation.
In other action, the commission:

  • Approved a four month contract extension with Interstate Engineering while the city attorney reviews the new contract. The commission gave approval for Interstate Engineering to apply for funding to  construct a sidewalk along 7th Street. Funding, if received, will come in two parts and construction will take place over a two year period. 
  • Agreed to allow liquor license applicant Clifford Johnson to reapply since it was unclear whether city policy allowed for out of city residence of a bar owner. Commissioner Travis Rettig said he believes the rules were changed and the application will be considered in January.
  • Received report of 17 citations by Ray City police in the last month. Speeding tickets issued in the 25 mph zone continue to clock violators at an average of 50 mph. The two signs that flash, notifying drivers of their speed in that area, were discussed. Dickey reported one of the signs has not worked for years. The other was recently made operational. Both need repairs. The commission agreed the signs should be sent out for repairs.
  • Agreed to look into purchasing video conferencing equipment to allow City Planner Brent Moore to attend via video rather than in person. This would save the city considerable expense. 
  • Appointed Elizabeth Suhr to the planning and zoning committee and Rettig to the city sales tax committee. 
  • Announced they will be selling the old city street signs for $5 each. Anyone interested in obtaining one should contact the city auditor. 

The next meeting will be January 11, 2016.


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