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City pays $415,000 for land involved in wastewater treatment plant project

By Kelly Terpstra,

After several closed sessions to discuss a land purchase, an agreement has been reached.

The Charles City Council approved at a regular meeting monday night the purchase of approximately 25 acres of land from Kevin and Rebecca McEnany for $415,000.

The land will be used for construction of an equalization basin and reed beds for the new water resource recovery facility — a new wastewater treatment plant — that is scheduled to begin construction in 2019.

Also at the meeting, several public hearings for urban renewal plans were also set. Public hearings were set for the urban renewal plans for Riverside, SW Bypass, and Park Avenue. The hearings will all be held on Monday, Nov. 26.

The Riverside TIF (tax increment financing) Plan is for a total of $385,845 over the course of three fiscal years — 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The projects include Charles City Community Revitalization, an Iowa Main Street program, for $23,000 a year or a total of $69,000 for the three-year agreement. The Facade Program will receive $90,000, the Cultural and Entertainment program gets $75,000 and the Charles City Area Development Corp. (CCADC) will get $50,400.

There is $77,445 that will go toward the Charles City Arts Center to reimburse the costs of replacing the front steps. There is also $24,000 that is budgeted for administrative fees.

“I think these are expenditures that it’s nice we’re able to provide through the Riverside TIF that maybe we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise,” said Charles City Mayor Dean Andrews. “Maybe we would have city departments doing some of this work that these other agencies are doing for us. It’s a good collaboration with the city and these other agencies that we’re able to proceed on these type of items.”

The SW Bypass Urban Renewal Plan calls for $170,500 to be administered. The CCADC gets $52,500, administrative fees total $18,000 and the SW Development Park Storm Water Project is for $100,000.

The Park Avenue plan’s total is $32,100. The annual support sum is $23,100 and administrative fees run $9,000.

The three-year payment agreement with the CCADC is coming to a close in fiscal year 2019. The city is looking to extend that payment agreement for an additional three years at the same funding level of $42,000 per year for a total of $126,000. That hearing date was approved and is slated for Nov. 26.

“We’d have to have additional staff to handle if we didn’t have this arrangement,” said council member DeLaine Freeseman. “I think it’s been a good deal for the city and everyone involved. The area ADC has done a lot of good things over the years. It’s money well spent.”

The council recommended that the Planning and Zoning Commission review the re-vacation of Sixth Avenue and alleys at the 500 North Grand Building. This is in preparation for sale of the building. The Charles City School District had a title opinion prepared for the property and discovered discrepancies concerning properties that have previously been city rights of way.

Other action taken by the council is as follows:

– The city agreed to forgive a loan of $40,000 to Cambrex that dealt with expansion of the business in 2015. The county awarded the forgivable loan based on a prediction that 39 jobs would be added based on the expansion. CCADC Executive Director Tim Fox said the loan met that requirement and 71 jobs were added.

– The council approved Resolution 164-18, which directed the P&Z Commission to review and provide a recommendation to request to vacate the South Jackson Street right-of-way between Gilbert and Court Streets for construction of the new county law enforcement center.

– Bob Woolm was appointed to the Charles City Public Library Board and Rick Cordes was re-appointed to the Building Trades Advisory Board.