During the Ely City Council meeting last week, city Engineer BJ Almberg said that NDOT’s project on Aultman is moving forward on the next phase.

“NDOT has actually hired a consulting firm to complete the application on their behalf for a federal grant. We will be meeting on the 26 of next month to prepare, and keep the project on schedule for 2024. I feel positive, they are doing everything they can to keep it moving forward,” Almberg said.

Ely’s City Clerk Jennifer Lee noted as of 5 p.m. last Friday, Terrill Trask was the only candidate who filed for Seat 1, and Jeri Lynn Williams was also the only candidate who filed for Seat 5. Samantha Elliott and Bruce Setterstrom filed for Seat 3, so that race will be decided in the General Election on Nov. 8.

Kenna Almberg was appointed to the Regional Planning Commission, a seat that was recently vacated by Jason Bath. Mayor Nathan Robertson noted he was pleased that Kenna Amberg was willing to accept this appointment.

“She has many years experience in property issues, real estate and certainly housing in this area and I think she will bring a lot to the planning commission,” Robertson said.

City Councilman Jim Alworth seconded the mayor’s comment by saying, “We really need someone who knows the lay of the land, the history or our city and county, and I think she will be a great asset.”

The vote was passed unanimously by the Council.

City Fire Chief Pat Stork requested an amendment to Resolution 2022-05 which is the Emergency Medical Services billing rate schedule. Stork explained he wasn’t looking to change all of the rates, mainly the $75 standby rate for special events.

“If we have these special events, we have to cover for private entities, and if I have to put career staff on it, it’s getting to the point where it’s costing us money to do it, and that’s definitely going backwards, we increase the cost to $125, since It has been $75 since the inception of the ambulance service,” Stork said.

Staff have been having to take on overtime, to cover the events, and regular shifts. Another addition was adding mileage to the resolution.

“We added mileage to anything over 10 miles outside the city, for example if we have to go down 318 to the car race, especially with the cost of fuel today, in addition to putting wear and tear on the vehicles, we have to do something.”

Councilman Ed Spear asked Stork if he had notified the Silver State Classic Car Challenge group, and Stork mentioned he had not.

“They are going to have to budget for that,” Spear said.

Approval on an abatement of a property that the City of Ely has contended with multiple notices for the past 10 years was a hot item on the agenda.

The agenda item was to include the removal of an RV believed to be occupied and an accumulation of debris on private property located at parcel No. 001-093-05 on Morley Avenue and 7th Street.

According to property records, the property is owned by Juanita H. Pope and Sally Marques.

The issue was that current zoning does not allow for the use of a recreational vehicle to be used as a dwelling per Title 12, zoning regulations, and the debris is in violation of City Code 4-1-40.

Jennifer Drew Lesher spoke during public comment. “I am speaking as a private citizen, on Agenda Item 8. This trailer is not too far from my house, it has been a huge nuisance, there is no running water, sewer, they make fires in the yard, cooking who knows what.

“There is more than one RV on that lot, I think they have about three, there is alot of shady things going on up there. I would greatly appreciate the board’s approval on the abatement of this property.”

Lee said, “I think the timeline that Patty prepared for the council shows it has been a long standing problem.

Spear said, “I have always kind of had an issue with these abatements. This started in 2011 and it’s now 2022, so it’s 10 1/2 years ago.”

Juanita Pope’s husband Robert Pope stood before the council noting he was speaking on behalf of Juanita due to her breathing problems. Pope asked the council if the issue was since. 2011 and Spear said, “Yes, your wife put in an application and it was denied on 09/22/11 to have a variance.”

Pope noted that the citation wasn’t on the RV in 2011, it was on vehicles that had since been removed. “The RV has only been there for two years,” Pope said.

But, Lee was noted to the mayor and council that the file they had contained a letter from March of 2016, that had a picture of the trailer they were discussing.

Pope repeatedly said he had gone to court with the former City Attorney and Judge to be grandfathered in.

“I know some trailers have been sitting there for 10-20 years, used for deer hunting. I know there are trailers sitting all over town where people are living in them, and I don’t understand how this could be a problem because during OVID 19 we had to have a place to keep this stuff.”

Robertson asked if there was a prior agreement?” City Attorney Cahoon noted he could not find one.

Lee was able to have Municipal Court Judge Mike Coster speak via telephone to coordinate a meeting with Pope, the city attorney and himself to review any documents referencing this issue.

“We have gone through the proper abatement process per code, so at this point the council could vote to abate that property and then they would be notified again prior to the removal of those items, “ Lee said.

Pope agreed to the meeting, but carried on about the clean up of the property and the location of the property. Robertson explained to Pope that the notice about the property was sent two years ago. “Your wife sent back notices saying she doesn’t own the property on Morley avenue,” Robertson said.

Pope agreed with his wife saying that his grandfather bought the property on Morley Avenue in 1949, and it’s always been considered 7th Street.

Robertson, attempting to move the agenda item along, noted that the options were in front of the council to approve or deny the abatement. Pope asked for 30 days to clean it up. Spear asked the Cahoon if it was possible to give them additional time, and Cahoon notified the council that it was at their discretion.

City Councilwoman Jeri Lynn Williams asked the mayor “if this is going to happen on Monday can we deal with this at our very next meeting, because I know as a council we have been working very hard to clean up the city, and another 30 days after 12 years of this, it seems obvious that nothing is happening.

Pope said, “but it has been complied in the past.”

“Again it seems like nothing is happening and that’s important, and the city is following everything that it should, and has been notified, and it’s his responsibility to have that information in writing, and if he doesn’t have it, and I thank the judges for inviting him to look at it, but this is a long time, and to keep extending it, I don’t think it’s a good idea, we should tie this up at the next meeting, not another 30 days, it’s been 12 years,” Williams said.

Lee noted to the council that they could vote to give an extension for 30 days and if the property isn’t cleaned up, then to abate it, if he produces his paperwork with City attorney Cahoon, the attorney can bring it to the council, reminding the council the notices have to be sent 21 days prior to any action.

Spear said, “I’ll amend my motion to give them 30 days to clean it up, meet with the attorney and judge. We have done this for over 11 years, we had a resident complain, and I amend my motion to give Mr. Pope 30 days to get this cleaned up, after which abatement would proceed.”

The item was approved unanimously.