City manager seeking residents' opinions on proposed ordinances

Evart — Residents will be invited to share their opinions with City Manager Zack Szakacs on ordinances discussed by the city council.

Szakacs plans to hear the concerns and answer questions of landlords and citizens about two proposed ordinances, the landlord/tenant ordinance and the empty buildings ordinance.

“I’m just going to be a listener,” Szakacs said at the city council meeting Monday. “I want to hear what they have to say.”

The empty buildings ordinance would encourage owners of empty buildings to make an effort to sell or rent their building, and the landlord/tenant ordinance would protect the needs of both landlords and tenants.

“These (ordinances) aren’t to be mean, they are to provide health and safety to residents,” Szakacs said.

After the meeting, the steps to either ordinance gaining approval is still a long process, Szakacs said. Though the ordinances may upset some owners or landlords, he said the intention is to help the city of Evart.

“We’ve got to make (downtown) look good if we want to attract people here,” said Szakacs. “We’re obligated to make an effort.”

In other business, the council:

  • approved a $100,000 loan from the water fund to the sewer fund. The money would be paid back in 24 months when the sewer fund begins to bring in more revenue.

Sewer rate increases in September of 2011 have not yet begun to bring in sufficient revenue to cover the city sewer expenses, but Szakacs expects the rate increase to be evident in the sewer fund balance soon.

“Within the next seven to eight months, the sewer fund should take off on its own,” Szakacs said.

If sewer expenses continue to exceed revenue, residents may see a rate increase, said Mayor Eric Schmidt.

“If we have a sewer debt we have to take care of, there could be an increase on sewer fees,” Schmidt said.

  • approved a 50 cent per hour pay raise of the Department of Public Works part-time assistant. The raise will total $576 more per year.
  • approved the design of a structure to be built in place of the “Duffy House,” a city-owned house that burnt down in 2010.
  • approved the closure of Oak Street on July 21 from First to Third streets from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. for a block party for the Evart High School class of 1976. Citizens are invited to attend the party as well.

The next city council meeting will be March 5 at 7 p.m. at the Evart City Hall.