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Doug Lindner

City budgeting for 3% COLA

Public Works seeks to add position

By Doug Lindner
Solon Economist
SOLON– After some lean years, the City of Solon is going to try and make up some lost ground for its employees.
At a Jan. 4 meeting, council members directed City Administrator Cami Rasmussen to include a 3 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) for city staff in the upcoming fiscal year budget.
In addition, council members and Mayor Steve Stange spoke in favor of an added full-time position requested by Public Works Director Scott Kleppe for his department, and began planning for a future city hall staffer.

The shape of things to come

Big projects prioritized ahead of budget work

SOLON– Stinocher Street needs rebuilding, it’s time to construct the North Trunk sewer line, and that traffic signal at Highway 1 and Main Street has worked so well another one at 5th Street would be really nice.
At a special work session Dec. 14, Solon City Council members overhauled their Capital Improvements List (CIP) in advance of January budget sessions. The ranked list of pending projects for the city is reviewed annually, but given a comprehensive rewriting every five years, with the last major update in 2011.

Main Street moving west

Council approves concept plan for new downtown project

SOLON– Main Street may be growing.
Solon City Council members gave an informal thumbs up for a plan to replace three residences on the downtown area’s west end with a two-story mixed-use building.
At a Dec. 21 council meeting, local developers Jim Hauer, Mark Pattison and Brad Randall, doing business as HPR Investments, presented their proposal for lower level commercial space with upper level residential condos on the south side of Main Street, west of Big Grove Brewery.

Concept plan for former auditorium approved

Developers reduce number of apartments, add office space

SOLON– A plan to renovate the former St. Mary Catholic Church auditorium into a mix of commercial and residential uses has been approved by the Solon City Council.
Council members voted 4-0 in favor of a revised concept plan for Solon Lofts and Commons at a special meeting Dec. 14, but included a requirement that developers work with the city’s engineer and building inspector to follow the appropriate building codes for varied commercial uses.

SCSD moving forward with fourth building

District hopes to brainstorm uses for current middle school

SOLON– The Solon Community School District’s (SCSD) fourth attendance center will be a $9.5 million project initially housing up to seven sections of fourth and fifth grade students.
The concept plan for the intermediate school was presented to the Solon City Council during a Dec. 7 meeting, and city and school officials are expected to hammer out details regarding the impact to water, sewer and roads over the coming months.
According to SCSD Superintendent Davis Eidahl, bids for the 44,225-square-foot building will be taken in January, with completion in the fall of 2018.

Cost of sheriff’s contract to increase

Pulkrabek makes annual visit to city council

SOLON– The cost of the city’s contract with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) is going up by about $3,500.
The sheriff’s office currently provides 34 hours of weekly law enforcement to the City of Solon at a cost of $41 per hour. That hourly cost will increase $2 an hour, to $43, beginning in July 2017.
It was not unexpected news.
The sheriff’s office instituted a policy of increasing its hourly rates every other year and, with that understanding, the city upped the number of contract hours from 32 to 34 last year.

“It can happen again.”

Survivor Gideon Frieder defines Holocaust for Solon students

SOLON– “My generation is dying,” Gideon Frieder said to the Solon students gathered in the middle school auditorium. “Twenty years from now, you will have no opportunity to talk to a Holocaust survivor. We will all be dead.”

Council moves ahead with water storage project

Work on 400,000- gallon ground storage reservoir to start in spring

SOLON– It will take Solon to a whole new level.
Bids for the construction of a 400,000-gallon water tank at the Solon Recreation and Nature Area will be awarded next month.
The project, originally expected to start in the spring of 2016, will now get underway a year later, with completion sometime in the fall of 2017.
The ground storage reservoir (GSR) will triple the capacity of the city’s municipal water storage, currently limited to a single 200,000-gallon water tower.

Winter sports Soup and Hoops Nov. 18

Basketball programs raising funds with soup supper Nov. 18

SOLON– Blizzard conditions put a damper on attendance at last year’s inaugural Soup and Hoops.
Second-year varsity girls basketball coach Lisa Bishop is hoping for better weather Friday, Nov. 18, when the Solon High School winter teams reach out to the community with the kickoff event.
Doors open at 5 p.m., with scrimmages for the freshman and sophomore boys’ and girls’ basketball teams beginning at 5:30 p.m.

City rearranges parking in busy Fox Ridge neighborhood

New stop signs coming to Windflower Lane

SOLON– Growth means more people and more people means more vehicles.
And in the Fox Ridge subdivision on the city’s south side, vehicle parking has become an issue.
Council member Steve Duncan, a resident of the subdivision, has consistently expressed concern about the parking habits of contractors and of some businesses in the neighborhood.
At an Oct. 19 council meeting, small changes in the subdivision’s street layout were approved in hopes of providing a solution.

Developers unveil plan for St. Mary auditorium

Commercial, residential mix planned for former church building

SOLON– There may be a new use on the horizon for an old Solon building.
The former St. Mary auditorium and an adjoining property were the subject of a mixed-use concept plan before the members of the Solon City Council Oct. 19.
Prairie Equity Group, LLC, of Iowa City, is proposing to renovate the 1915 building into commercial storefronts and 16 upper-level condominiums, with the conversion of a separate lot into a gated parking area.

Snipes running write-in campaign

Former council member running unofficially for seat

SOLON– Dale Snipes didn’t realize how much he missed being on the Solon City Council.
Snipes, 59, was appointed to the council in February 2015 and stood for election in November of that year. But when the hours of his employment changed, he made the decision to step down, and his letter of resignation was accepted July 7.
Afterward, he received comments from citizens expressing regret about his move, something he called “humbling.”