Rezoning approved for new Moser's grocery store site

Monday night's regular meeting of the Mexico City Council began with a presentation by Heidi Chick, CPA, Audit Partner from Williams-Keepers LLC regarding the city's 2012 Audit and Financial Report. The auditors did not identify any material weaknesses, deficiencies or noncompliance. Chick complimented Deputy City Manager Roger Haynes and other city staff members/administrators for their precise work and cooperation.
A public hearing concerning rezoning property located at 1101 W. Monroe from I-1 Light Industrial to C-2 General Commercial and vacant parcel on North Abat which is currently split zoned from R-1 Single Family Dwelling and R-2 Two Family Dwelling to C-2 General Commercial.
Roger Moser, Moser Realty requested to rezone the two parcels of land. The 1101 W. Monroe property was previously zoned C-2 General Commercial until June 2011 when the Planning and Zoning Commission and city council granted approval to a request from the previous owner, Dale Gibbons, Gibbons Basement System to rezone the property to I-1 Light Industrial.
Moser plans to construct a commercial grocery store on the property.
Near the end of the meeting, councilmen unanimously, 5-0, passed the ordinance rezoning the property referred to in the public hearing.
Councilmen also passed, 4-1, a resolution authorizing the city manager to enter into a contract for the purchase of real estate with MatMag Holdings LLC, Pearl Motor Company, Inc. and George and Linda Huffman and Audrain County Comission.
Negotiations have been held regarding the joint purchase of property with the Audrain County Commission and the City of Mexico. The City of Mexico has negotiated to purchase Tract A (the north side of the property) for $90,000, and the Audrain County Commission has agreed to purchase Tract B (the south side of the property) for $400,000.
The contract outlines that the City of Mexico will make a deposit in escrow the sum of $45,000 on or before Sept. 30 and will pay the remaining purchase balance ($45,000) upon the closing of the transaction. The closing of the transaction shall be after Oct. 1, but before Oct. 31. All closing costs outlined in the contract will be paid by the seller. Any costs not addressed in the contract shall be paid by the party who incurred the cost.
Councilmen Dan Botts, Steve Nichols, Greg Miller and Mayor Ron Loesch voted yes. Councilman Chris Williams voted no.
Williams asked where the money is coming from and if there are any firm plans for the property.
City Manager Bruce Slagle said there are capital projects budgeted that could be put on hold. He pointed out that the lot is already paved and well lighted, if the city chooses to use it for parking space. He also cited several other potential uses for the property.
Botts said, "I think it's a rare opportunity that we would have an adjacent property like this that's priced properly and already has income producing property on it to help offset expense (Chiropractor James Scott's business is located in a building on the site and he pays rent). I think it's an opportunity we shouldn't pass up."
Nichols noted, "You aren't going to find any property any closer or any cheaper than what you've got next door."
Miller said, "It does seem to me to be a good opportunity. No financing involved … I think this is an opportunity we need to take advantage of."
Loesch said, "I agree. I think this is a forward-looking decision. Sometimes you have to just step out there and do it."
Councilmen unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the city manager to enter into an agreement with the Audrain County Historical Society to assist in providing services to citizens.
The 2012-2013 budget allows for the city to contribute $4,900 to the ACHS for use in providing programs and activities. The city has provided assistance to the ACHS since 2000 – $3,900 in 2000 and 2001 and $4,900 from 2001 to present.
Councilmen unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the city manager to execute an agreement with Prairie Pine Quilt Guild for Mexico Tourism Tax funds. The guild requested and was granted $908 for advertising their annual quilt show which guild members said brings 350-400 guests to Mexico from throughout the state and many surrounding states. Guidelines for the tourism requests include: all events and promotional materials must show potential to attract tourism to Mexico from outside the community; all events funded must be open to the general public; no event shall promote a specific candidate, political party or platform.
During the council comments section of the meeting, Mayor Loesch asked City Manager Slagle to update council members on the status of the municipal judge. Slagle said Judge Nicole Volkert submitted her resignation in December and stated she was going to continue to serve until the first of March. Slagle said the advertisements have been placed and the application deadline is Jan. 31. He told council members there have been "a number of good applicants" and administrators will sort through those and hope to make a decision before March 1.
During the public comments section of the meeting, Dana Keller, director of the Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce, thanked the "city" for the opportunity to work with them on Mexico's Comprehensive Plan. She guided the public to the website to participate in the survey which is part of the gathering process for ideas regarding Mexico's future.