Council approves south side annexation

Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The city grew by 74 acres last week, although it didn’t add any population.

The City Council approved an annexation request from the Plymouth Industrial Development Corp. at their Feb. 13 meeting.

The parcel is located on the northwest corner of the intersection of State 67 and Hillwind Road.

“The Department of Administration has reviewed the annexation and determined it is in the public interest,” City Attorney Crystal Fieber advised the council. “This is a vacant parcel, there are not any electors residing there now.”

She added that the land will be zoned agricultural initially, under city ordinances. The PIDC will have one year to request permanent zoning for the property.

City Administrator Brian Yerges noted that the area is designated as planned neighborhood development in the city’s master plan. Additionally, a neighborhood park somewhere between State 67 and Hill and Dale Road is part of the city’s outdoor recreation plan.

“The PIDC recognizes that this land is not slated for industrial development and would not propose such development,” Yerges said in a memo to the council about the annexation. “There is an opportunity for the city and the PIDC to work together on the orderly development of this area.”

The council approved an ordinance removing the three year limit on the appointment of a city clerk/treasurer.

The action came in advance of the pending reappointment for another three-year term of current Clerk/Treasurer Patty Huberty.

“It’s a little bit unusual that the city clerk/treasurer position is the only city employee where there is a term limit,” Yerges said.

The position had been an elected one for many years, but the council changed it to an appointed post a number of years ago in order to ensure the required level of professionalism, training and experience.

But at the same time, the three-year term was added, with the requirement that an appointment be made by the council every three years.

“I can’t believe it’s been three years already,” since the last appointment of Huberty, who has been on the job since 2003, Yerges commented.

“We’re just building in some flexibility for the future,” Yerges said of the ordinance.

For instance, he noted, the duties could be divided in the future, if the city finds it desirable to separate people as fulltime clerk and part-time treasurer or vice-versa.

The current ordinance mandates that the two jobs be combined in one full-time position.

Removing the limit would also make it easier in the future to hire a qualified person when the position is open.

“Somebody new might be reluctant to take the position for only a three-year term,” Yerges observed.

The council approved the next stage in the ongoing upgrade of Plymouth Utilities’ electric substation, a project that continues to be under budget.

MJ Electric of Greenville was awarded an $83,660 contract for the foundation at substation 4 in Johnsonville.

“Overall, this is good news,” Yerges said. “The bids were good and the project is moving forward.”

The work was budgeted for $138,000, Yerges told the council. The total project at substation 4 is more than $250,000 under budget, he added.

The transformer for the upgraded substation will arrive on site by the end of May, according to Yerges.

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