Council approves various TIF/Urban Renewal items

City Council
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Economic development and TIF/Urban Renewal Districts encompassed much of the Monticello City Council’s agenda for their Nov. 20 meeting.

     A public hearing was held, with no public comment, regarding an amendment to the development agreement with Boulders Inn Monticello, LLC. The amendment to the agreement will allow Boulders Inn & Suites to receive bi-annual grant payments (every six months), based upon the hotel/motel tax receipts, by the city. The previous agreement included annual grant payments.

     This amendment, approved by the council, does not increase the amount of the grant payments, just changes the payment process.

     The council also approved the following appropriations necessary to meet the city’s obligations to various developers:

     • Bud Johnson/Eastern Iowa Sports Facility, appropriating $2,090 for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019

     • M-C Industries (Polo Custom Products), appropriating $7,478 for FY 2019

     • Innovative Ag Services (IAS), appropriating $3,816 for FY 2019

     • Althoff Properties, LLC, appropriating $5,164 for FY 2019

     • Karde’s Inc., appropriating $35,176 for FY 2019

     • Boulders Inn Monticello, appropriating $69,138 for FY 2019

     • B&J Hauling & Excavation, appropriating $20,000 for FY 2019

     The council also approved a TIF certification in the amount of $730,000 for FY 2019.

     The last three years, the city has certified $700,000.

     The council approved the city’s FY 2019 Urban Renewal Report, a summary of the city’s TIF finances and obligations.

     On July 1, 2016, the city’s balance was $206,733. As of June 30, 2017, the TIF balance was $245,652, with $14,263 set aside for the LMI (Low to Moderate Income) housing fund. State code mandates that money be set aside for LMI housing projects for residential purposes.

     The council approved an investment of $10,000 from the city’s economic development fund to assist with the purchase and removal of property located at 418 E. Oak St.

     At one time there were five small homes along E. Oak St. between Fidelity Bank & trust and the old DOT building. One remains. The others have been purchased and demolished over the years to assist in the development of senior citizen condos off E. Oak St., on property owned by Mike Kraus.

     Kraus worked out a deal to purchase the last remaining home from Debbie Wells. The home will be removed from the lot by the end of 2017.

     When the work is complete, Fidelity Bank will then own the lot, already owning an adjacent lot. This will give the bank the opportunity to build another structure on their property, if needed, in the future.

     In return for the lot, Fidelity will pay Kraus $45,000. He will cover the costs for demolition/removal, property closing costs, taxes, and insurance. With Kraus covering the costs for removal, he requested an investment by the city.

     City Administrator Doug Herman said removing the last house on E. Oak St. falls in line with the city’s 2013 Comprehensive Plan.

     Council member Brian Wolken questioned whether the city’s economic development funds should be tied to physical building plans associated with the lots.

     “Now we’re going to have a vacant lot,” he said. The city’s recent investment of economic development funds to B&J Hauling were assisting with demolition and construction of a commercial building, housing three separate businesses.

     “It’s just a dramatic improvement in that area,” voiced Council member Dave Goedken.

     The council passed the second reading, amending the city’s Urban Renewal Area to include the B&J Hauling property on W. First Street.

In other city business:

     • The council approved a Small Cell Site Lease Agreement between the city and US Cellular. The agreement will offer some flexibility when US Cellular needs to change out or modify the locations of their small cell sites located throughout the fairgrounds/city park.

     • The council approved the severing of property owned by Shover and Kraus east of Highway 151, as well as several small parcels owned by the city near the sewer plant west of the highway.

     None of the properties in question are likely areas the city would develop in the future. In addition, you cannot have residential construction within 1,000 feet of a sewer plant, limiting the use of those parcels.

     • Public Works Director Brant LaGrange drafted several bid packages for proposed 2017-18 street repairs throughout the city. The list was presented to the council during the Nov. 20 meeting.

     “The bid packages can easily be changed,” offered LaGrange, depending on resident and council suggestions.

     Herman said the city does not plan to take on any major street projects this coming year, much like Main Street and South Street in 2017.

     Herman encouraged the council to look over the list between now the next council meeting so bid packages could be finalized and bids sought for cost estimates.


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