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Charles City Council OKs budget amendment, quit claim deed for property

By Bob Steenson,

The Charles City Council held a couple of public hearings and set several more at its regular meeting Monday evening.

There were no public comments either received in advance or made at the meeting for either of two hearings held during the meeting.

The first was for what City Administrator Steve Diers called a routine city budget amendment. The city amends its budget almost every year to account for changes in spending and revenue that have occurred since the budget was passed the previous winter, he said.

The big items on the amendment this time were for changes in timelines of projects, COVID-related expenses, receipt and disbursements for grants, payment to Floyd County for balance in the communications equipment fund because the dispatch center is moving to the new county law enforcement center and damages to city vehicles due to accidents.

“This amendment does not change the tax levies at all so the tax rates will not change,” Diers said.

The other public hearing was on a resolution to issue a quit claim deed to City Council member DeLaine Freeseman for a tiny sliver of land between property owned by Freeseman and his wife, Jane, and the two property owners to the north near Riden Circle. The property also borders the city’s Cedar Street right-of-way in one area, thereby getting the city involved.

The property technically was owned by no one because of surveying errors at some time, Diers said, and quit claim deeds from the city and the neighbors will restore Freeseman’s property line to what it was thought to have been all along.

Freeseman will pay the legal expenses for the transfer and he abstained from voting on all aspects of the city decision.

Also Monday evening, the council set public hearings for the June 21 meeting for amendments to the Riverside, South Grand and Southwest Bypass urban renewal plans to reallocate how funding is distributed to Main Street Charles City and the Charles City Area Development Corp., and to change the TIF rebate agreement for a Cambrex expansion economic development incentive.

Because of the increased value of the Cambrex expansion and the resulting higher level of property taxes that would be collected, the development agreement is suggested to be changed from a $170,000 rebate over nine years to $575,000.

Also Monday evening, the council:

• Approved closing Kelly and North Jackson streets around Central Park from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 22, for a Corvette Car Show planned by Craig Hamm.

• Approved closing the parking lot behind KCHA radio and Dean Jewelers from 2 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 10, for the Charles City BBQ Challenge, to be held along with Christmas in July and Santa’s Shine and Show Car Show.

• Approved a proclamation declaring Friday, May 28, as Poppy Day in Charles City, recognizing the efforts the American Legion Auxiliary makes to remind America of the debt own to those who have given their life in war, and urging all citizens to “pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom by wearing the Memorial Poppy on this day.”

• Approved an extension of the $1.2 million financing loan the city made to the Charles City Telecommunications Utility for another year.

“That note was due to mature in March 2021,” said Diers. “That date was selected as it was anticipated to be well past the time where financing was to be obtained which would have repaid this amount to the city. As you know, the telecom project has yet to get financed and while that process continues we need to look at extending the due date for the note.”

The Telecom Board of Trustees requested the due date be extended to March 1, 2022.

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