Hancock City Council decides on new maintenance director

Hancock City Councilman Jeff Flaten will soon have a new title. He will be taking the role of the Maintenance Director for the City of Hancock. With his acceptance of this job, he will need to resign as a member of the city council.

The maintenance director position has been open for over a month with the council members accepting applications in two rounds of advertising. They received a total of seven applicants and interviewed six of those applicants. Mayor Bruce Malo and Councilman Bob Staples served on the personnel committee that conducted the interviews.

Malo reported to the council members at their meeting on March 11 and recommended offering the position to Flaten. He said that they had offered it to two other individuals who decided not to accept the job. With only three council members present at the meeting, the vote to approve Flaten passed.

Hancock City Clerk Jodi Bedel explained that Flaten will have to resign his seat before he starts working for the city, and the city council would then pass a resolution approving the resignation and the open seat.  They will also be deciding on how to fill the seat until the end of this year.  At the November election, a special term will be on the ballot to fill the two years left for this seat.   So there will be two regular council positions with four-year terms and one position with a two-year term on the next ballot. 

The position was offered at $35 per hour and, at his request, 40 hours of PTO time allowed from the first day of employment. Flaten has served on the city council for a number of years and is a lifelong resident of the community.

Kevin Joos of KJH Builders was also present at the meeting. KJH owns and developed the lots outside of Hancock and they are trying to sell them for new home construction. He asked the council members for their opinion on selling some of the lots as a double lot. He has had inquiries for this as new homeowners sometimes would like to also construct a separate garage to match the house on the adjoining lot.

The council members first talked about the potential of losing some tax dollars by not having a home on each lot but the value of the single home plus garage would make up for most of that. Also for larger valued homes, the homestead credit decreases at a certain dollar range so that would bring in additional tax revenue.

The other concern was for the water and sewer usage with a single property versus having two homes on the two lots. However, the city is not getting any tax revenue or water and sewer money with the lots sitting empty.

In the end, they told Joos that it is basically up to KJH as they hold the covenants for the lots. The city does have an agreement with KJH that the road would be paved after a set number of lots are sold and new homes built. 

“I want to be selling lots,” Joos stated. “If I have people who want two lots, I want to do that.”

Joos promised to stay in touch with the city about potential future lot sales.

City Clerk Jodi Bedel updated the council on the construction project and made a request. She said that the bathrooms are nearly complete and asked if she could have a cleaning firm come in and do a complete cleaning of these rooms when finished. This was approved. She added that the front garage doors have been installed and most of the windows are in. The construction company is waiting on the delivery of countertops. A good share of the sheetrock is also done and some painting. The work is now focused on the roof and electrical installation.

Regarding the electrical, Bedel asked if they could add outside plug-ins on the library side of the building. These would be used during the Fourth of July by vendors. Currently, a cord has to be strung from inside to the various vendors. The estimated cost is $2,721.54 from Messner Electric. This was approved by the council members.

The council members approved the purchase of two moveable stands for the signs that are posted at the burn site. There are three signs out there and sometimes the burn pile is moved so the signs need to be more portable. Each stand will cost $250. 

The city received a letter from Morris Sand and Gravel that there will be a business change this year. They also received a notice that the Hancock Board of Equalization meeting will be held on Monday, April 2, 7 p.m., in the Hancock City Council room.