Atlantic City Council approves Minimum Maintenance Code


November 17th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday evening, approved on a 6-to-1 vote, the adding of a chapter to the City’s Code of Ordinances. Chapter 144 establishes a Minimum Maintenance Code for properties. The Code is expected to provide an effective tool to preserve the quality of buildings in Atlantic, help preserve property values, and prevent the spread of “Urban blight.” It will require property owners to keep structures in reasonably good repair. Councilman Kern Miller provided the lone “Nay” vote.

In other business, the Council voted 6-to-1, with Kern Miller again providing the “No” vote, to award the sale of property at 706 Walnut Street to the Dave Jones Agency for $801.  The insurance company is owned by Atlantic Mayor Dave Jones, and his was the lone bid for the lot. During their meeting on October 5th, the Council voted 4-to-2 in favor of a resolution terminating a purchase agreement the City had with resident Ed Leistad for the parcel.

Last August, Leistad had asked the Council to consider terminating a contract he signed earlier in the Summer, when he paid $5,000 for the property. Leistad claimed he misunderstood how small the property was, and that it would not serve his needs as he anticipated. The termination was in exchange for his making $1,000 payment to the City as a penalty.

At Wednesday, night’s meeting, Miller brought up the fact the City had $5,000 in its pocket for the property, and should not have accepted the agreement to terminate the contract with Leistad. Councilman Shawn Shouse who voted in October to terminate the agreement with Leisted, conceded that fact, but Councilman Steve Livengood said mistakes will happen because the Council is not in the real estate business.

The Council Wednesday, set December 7th as the date for a public hearing on the disposition of other, City-owned property, at the northwest corner of Olive and Commerce Streets, and passed a motion allowing for the advertisement of bids for a three-year agricultural lease of a 12.93-acre parcel of land located east of Lake #2 in the Schildberg Recreation Area.  Mayor Dave Jones said the City is required by the Code of Iowa to lease the land for “Fair market value,” and not allow it to be farmed for free, as has been previous practice.