Monti Days community event approved for downtown

City Council
By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     A community event hosted by WIN-Monticello is planning to return in August 2021!

     The second annual Monti Days, which was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is planned for Saturday, Aug. 14 in downtown Monticello.

     WIN group members Melissa Ehrisman and Kaitlyn Hunt were present at the March 15 Monticello City Council meeting to not only present information about the event, but to request closure of a portion of E. First Street from Cedar Street to Maple Street from 6 a.m. to midnight. They also requested use of the pocket park for the Monti Days event.

     The council approved of the road closure, taking the request to Police Chief Britt Smith who will work with the Iowa DOT on the matter. Proper detour signs will also be in place.

     “Our team is ready to start planning, request sponsorships, and begin advertisement,” the letter from WIN stated. “This year’s event will resemble 2019’s event with some improvements and hopefully even more opportunities for our city residents, groups, and businesses.

     “Our goal is to create an event downtown that celebrates and promotes the people of Monticello.”

     The group is currently exploring expanding the one-day event into a full weekend, with possibly the Panther Prowl race downtown Saturday morning, in collaboration with organizer Andrea Hall.

     Other community-type events in the works include relocating the Farmers Market Saturday morning from the Willow Shelter on Oak Street to the downtown area, food and drink vendors, live street music from 1 to 11 p.m., kids’ activities, contests, service vehicles (police, fire, and ambulance), live performances, and more.

     “We want to collaborate with other groups,” said Ehrisman. “We want to make it bigger and better for Monticello.”

     There would be no charge for the various Monti Days activities.

     The council also held a public hearing and approved the Fiscal Year 2022 city budget. No comments were made from the public on the matter.

     The proposed tax collections for the General Fund Levy total $1,506,785, which is 1.35 percent more than last year ($1,486,590).

     The city’s budget includes $3,372,500 to help cover the estimated cost for the new sewer plant ($8 to $10 million).

     The budget results in a tax rate of $13.86, which is the same as last year. This rate is made up of $8.10 in the General Fund Levy, $3.36 in the Employee Benefits Levy, and $2.39 in the Debt Service Levy.

In other city business:

   • The council has now received two RFPs (requests for proposals), for property located at 103 W. First St. (former Compadres). Those proposals were submitted by Matt Kumley, owner of The Glass Tap; and Creative Concepts Development.

     The council chose to set a public hearing to take comment from the public regarding both proposals on Monday, April 5 at 6 p.m.

     City Administrator Russ Farnum explained that the city cannot dispose of property without holding a public hearing on the matter. The date of the hearing also allows the city to move forward with submission of a catalyst grant application and meet the deadline.

     Both proposals make use of the catalyst and/or derelict building grants in some shape or form. Both also propose adding upper-story housing as well.

     The council previously agreed to commit $50,000 toward the match for one of the grants. Council member Dave Goedken asked whether the chosen developer would cover the city’s financial contribution.

     “We certainly can ask,” noted Mayor Brian Wolken, “but that’s not what it currently being proposed.”

     Goedken said he’s been questioned by the public as to whether city taxpayer dollars would go toward the project.

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