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Emmetsburg City Council Reviews Support of PACEDC

August 23, 2017
by Anna Veltri , Emmetsburg News

The Emmetsburg City Council met on Monday, August 14 for a regularly scheduled meeting. Councilman Brian Campbell addressed the confusion that the closure of Lawler Street has caused out-of-town individuals.

"What would you think about putting up a sign that says 'Shores Open, Golf Course Open' [] or road closed beyond The Shores and the golf course? So people from out of town that are coming to camp don't think 'now how are we going to get there?'" suggested Campbell.

"My first response is that I think it's a good idea, but what I think and what the State of Iowa thinks about it may not be the same thing," responded City Administrator John Bird. "We can look into it. You know if it's a sign on private property, there probably isn't much they can do about it."

The Public Properties Standing Committee met before the Council meeting on Monday to discuss the 17th street repairs.

"The county gave us a proposal roughly paying about a fourth and we think they should kick in more than that," Councilman Brian Malm stated. "We decided that John Bird, the City Attorney, Brian Thule, Frank Kleigl and myself would try and meet with County Attorney Peter Hart and Walter Davis-Oeth and try and get them to see where we come from on the agreement."

In new business, Val Newhouse, chair of the Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation (PACEDC) came to the meeting to discuss a partnership between the PACEDC and the City of Emmetsburg to reinstate per capita support.

"I was here last spring after we found out that the council had voted not to renew that support. There were a couple of issues that we had talked about in a meeting before that [] we've worked through a lot of those, I feel, along the way," Newhouse said.

On March 16, 2017, the City Council voted not to renew their support to the PACEDC, as there were some disagreements in the way the two entities were communicating within the partnership. As the Economic Developer for the City of Emmetsburg position is still open, the county is hoping to renew the partnership and work closely with the new Developer.

"Certainly we are committed to this partnership; we are dependent on this partnership. One of the things was communication. We have voted as an organization to allow for an ad hoc seat on the Palo Alto County Development Board for the Economic Developer when the City hires that person back," Newhouse stated.

"I believe Emmetsburg's Economic Development person should be at the Palo Alto Economic Development meetings- that's common sense. When Emmetsburg does well, the county does well and vice-versa. I believe Val's made some good improvements," Palo Alto County Supervisor, Craig Merrill followed up.

"We want to restate that commitment to helping you with anything you need whether it's training once you have new people hired or on-going support," Newhouse commented.

After the meeting in March, the City Council had asked Newhouse to come to a meeting after the fiscal year had started. If the Council votes to reinstate the PACEDC support, then it will cost $23,424.

"You [The Council] would have to reinstate funding in fiscal '18. You would have to identify a fund from which that would come because it is absolutely not budgeted," John Bird noted.

"First step is we're going to have to identify if there are any funds available and where they're going to come from before we say 'yes or no,'" Brian Campbell commented.

"You guys had indicated, not to put words in your mouth, but you had indicated that fund, when we were here in the spring, that it was some of the gaming [grant]," Newhouse pointed out.

"That would probably be the only place it could come from," Bird expressed.

"Well how much have we saved for The Economic Developer not being hired?" Burdick asked.

"Depending on how long before we hire somebody she [Billie Jo Joyce] was done very early of June, so there's already two months of her salary that are saved," replied Bird.

Currently, in Palo Alto County Ruthven and Emmetsburg are the only two towns in Palo Alto County that do not support the PACEDC.

"I think we should at least give the courtesy to take a look at the funds available and the casino money. See where that money is at and if there are any plans for that money," Mike Hermansen voiced.

The Finance Committee will meet in the coming weeks to search for funds in order to potentially reinstate the partnership between the City of Emmetsburg and PACEDC.

In other business, the owner of 1705 7th Street, Pat Reding, appeared before the City Council to thank them for allowing the opportunity to fix up his residence. The council had previously reviewed Reding's property as a nuisance home. If the house had not passed Clint Young's inspection in early August, then the council would have moved forward with condemnation on the home.

"In our opinion, it has been complete and it is now in compliance," commented Bird.

A public hearing for changes to the ordinance number 573 regarding building permits will be held on August 28, 2017 at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall.



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