Monticello City, entrepreneur may trigger gold rush
Mar 13, 2018 | 3143 views | 0 0 comments | 298 298 recommendations | email to a friend | print
by Eric Niven

A local entrepreneur is interested in drawing visitors to Monticello for a literal gold-rush. Details were discussed at the March 6 meeting of the Monticello City Council.

The goal is to create an opportunity to search for gold buried on the Monticello Mill Site park.

City Manager Doug Wright told the council that he and Tyler Hall had been working to assemble a concessionaire contract and use proposal for the old mill site. Wright said the application is complete, and with council approval, would be submitted to the federal government for approval.

Hall outlined his overall goals for the concessionaire contract. He will sell permits and rent metal detection equipment to customers wishing to search for the gold that he plans to bury on the site.

Hall said that a handful of similar venues have attracted customers from across the county. Plans ultimately include a mining museum on the site.

There is no additional cost to the city. Costs of insect abatement will be split between the city and Hall.

The city will receive ten percent of the permit revenue, which will be earmarked to bring sewer and electricity to the site.

At that time, monthly utility costs will be covered by Hall. Until then, a generator and portable restrooms will be utilized.

Once utilities are installed, 25 percent of the city revenues will go to insect abatement.

Hall is confident this is a great opportunity for the city, adding new revenue and a new local venue to attract tourists.

The concessionaire contract will run for 15 years with a 30-year renewal option. The City can cancel the contract at any time. The proposal was unanimously accepted by the Council.

In other matters, the Council turned its attention to a new logo for the City. Several options were considered, but the Council decided to wait on a decision until additional options were created.

Options for a new mission statement for the City were also considered, but the Council decided additional work needs to be undertaken before they were to consider the wording. Councilman Blaine Nebeker suggested the citizens consider submitting ideas for the mission statement.

Councilwoman Bayley Hedglin asked the council if funds from a recent industrial park land sale can be earmarked for economic development.

Hedglin described several options, including an information kiosk at the visitor center with video screens to inform visitors of things to do in Monticello.

Hedglin also suggested a review of the Transient Room Tax (TRT) program to see if the TRT funds are being spent correctly and effectively. She requested a report on the past distribution of the TRT money.

Wright said he is still trying to determine just where the money has been spent in the past.

Wright said a pending state bill may require a TRT distribution report. He believes the law may lessen the amount of TRT funds that the city receives from the county.

Wright shared research regarding city expenses. He concludes the city subsidizes the airport by approximately $15,000 per year but adds it does not include debt payments.

Wright will present a more accurate number after additional review as well as the level of subsidy for the other two services in the near future.

Hedglin and Councilman George Rice are developing a Water Wise Campaign to inform residents of city sewer concerns. An informative table tent will be placed on toilet tanks in motels. An animated presentation will state that only toilet paper should be flushed down toilets.

Rice specifically targeted so called ‘flushable wipes’ as a major concern. The campaign will include a poster contest, a pledge and a tracking worksheet.

After presenting a Lego model of the Big Four tractor, Hedglin put out a call for apprentices to learn the ins and outs of the Big Four tractor.

The Big Four maintenance team has put in years of work to restore and maintain the remarkable tractor, which is one of only three of its type in the world.

Pioneer Day is scheduled for July 21.
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