Hillsboro City Council approves creation of a land bank

The Hillsboro City Council met on Tuesday, Sept. 1. The majority of the meeting was spent hearing from Marion County Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene as well as being able to ask her any questions they had.

Serene reminded the council that it is important to remember that it isn’t just what is going on in Marion county, but what is going on in the counties around Marion.

“You also have to remember that the viral load does make a difference with the negatives meaning you can take a test today and it be negative, but tomorrow be positive because the virus has progressed further,” said Serene.

Another misconception that Serene cleared up for the council is the 10 minute exposure time.

“Those 10 minutes are cumulative,” Serene said.

Serene also made some clarifications on quarantine. Isolation is for those who have the virus and have to be isolated from all. Quarantine is for those who have been exposed to the virus but don’t have symptoms or been tested positive for it. She stated that they can still go for walks as long as they don’t stop and talk to anyone, they can go in their car for drives and they can go work in their fields as long as no helpers out there.

When school starts and elementary school classes are exposed to the virus, Serene explained that a class can still go to school in quarantine as long as they have a different start and end time from the rest of the school. The school will let parents know how it all works when the time arises.

Serene closed the time reminding the council that there will be outbreaks once school starts simply because more are gathered, but the USD 410 and Tabor have really worked hard and done amazing jobs putting guidelines into place to protect everyone.

“Please remember there will be a lot of rumors. Do not believe everything you see on Facebook and all of the rumors that you hear,” said Serene. “We don’t want to keep you in the dark. We are trying to be as transparent as we can.

Mayor Lou Thurston expressed his appreciation for the Serene and her staff.

The council heard from Hillsboro City Administrator Matt Stiles regarding the creation of a city land bank which helps to streamline the sale or acquisition of property to help with community revitalization and development.

“The Land Bank is a quasi-governmental organization like the Public Building Commission. All of the City’s current property holdings that are designated for housing or development such as Hillsboro Heights, Willow Glen or other lots throughout the community can be moved to the Land Bank. There are 49 properties that could be placed in the Land Bank,” said Stiles.

Stiles went on to explain that two of the biggest advantages to the Land Bank are that property in the bank is tax-exempt and the process to sell property is much simpler.

Part of the Land Bank process is to provide an agreed-upon price listing for all available property and when applicable a development direction for the property.

“For example, we may want multi-family housing in some areas or manufacturing in other areas. When anyone is interested in the purchasing or developing a property, the Chairman or Treasurer can execute that sale without having to go back to the board to take formal action,” said Stiles. “Ordinance 1317 creates the Land Bank. Once it is created the Council can convene a Land Bank meeting. At that point Land Bank Trustees will need approve bylaws and Resolution 2020. The 49 properties pay property tax of $3,521.15 annually that will removed from the tax rolls until they are sold.”

The council voted and approved Ordinance 1317.

In other business, the council:

  • authorized the final payment of pay estimate 9 to Vogts Parga for the street improvements project. The amount was $1,031.78.
  • accepted the proposal from Ransom Financial for administrative services
  • approved a bid from Wray roofing for the city’s raw water intake building’s roof. The cost is $13,039.00
  • approved the license renewal for the R&D Liquor store
  • appointed Frank Johnson to the board of Zoning and Appeals
  • appointed Staci Silhan, Leroy Just and Mandi Bernhardt to the Museum Board
  • heard from Stiles that the city is working on the lagoon system and the odor that is coming from it. He asked for patience as they work on it.