Council Delays Issuing Final Assessments
Timing for disseminating the final assessment notices was discussed at the Emmetsburg City Council meeting Monday, Nov. 23. Rather than issue the assessment notices right before Christmas, the council decided to delay the process until January.
“Kim (Kibbie, City Clerk) and I talked and it is our opinion that it would be kind of a humbug to send the notices out even though people know they’re coming to receive a final assessment notice a few weeks or a few days before Christmas,” City Administrator John Bird told the council.
Bird had checked with John Danos at Dorsey & Whitney, who had prepared the final assessment plat and schedule.
“There is no requirement to proceed quickly after the acceptance of the work on the project,”?Bird said. “He (Danos) agreed with Kim and I that it would be appropriate to wait until after the first of the year for you to consider and approve the final assessment plat and schedule. After that action is taken, Kim will send out the final assessments to all of us that are benefiting property owners.”
Bird laid out the schedule:?Property owners have 30 days during which they can pay any portion of that assessment. Following that 30 days, all of the unpaid balances are certified by the county and automatically divided into 10 equal payments to be paid with their property taxes over the ensuing 10 years. They can be paid off any time after that.
“Unless there’s an objection from the council, we probably will not include that (adopting the final assessment plat and schedule) on your Dec. 14 agenda, but will wait until the first of the year,” said Bird.
“I will tell you, the assessments are down fairly significantly,” he added. “I haven’t had a chance to look at them closely, but mine, personally, is about $1,000 less than the preliminary assessment. So that’s kind of a nice surprise.”
Emmetsburg City Council approved a resolution approving the five-year Airport Capital Improvement Program. This action is taken annually.
Council representatives also approved a resolution declaring the necessity and establishing an Urban Renewal Area and approval the Urban Renewal Plan and projects for Emmetsburg West Urban Renewal.
Ordinance 565 was adopted, providing for the division of taxes levied on taxable property in the Emmetsburg West Urban Renewal Area.
“Ordinance 565 has to do with the taxes when we file or certify debt and what happens to the remainder of the taxes if there are taxes over and above what we need to pay down the TIF debt,”?Bird explained.
“When we’ve incurred qualifying expenses or issue qualifying debt in that urban renewal area, then the ordinance goes on to state how the division of those taxes will happen,” he said. “On incremental value created in that district, after the effective date of its establishment, if we have incurred debt and have certified that debt with the county auditor on an annual basis, all of the debt service levies of all the taxing entities would come to the city. So we would get instead of our $13 per 1,000, we would instead get about $34.11 to be used only for those specific, statutory purposes. To the extent that we don’t levy enough debt that it calls for, all of those dollars would come to us and the remainder of the taxes on that incremental value would go to the various taxing agencies.”
Council members approved the first reading of Ordinance 565, then waived the second and third readings before adopting the ordinance.
The council also approved the Annual Urban Renewal Report for fiscal year 2014-15. The city is required to file an annual TIF report with the state of Iowa.
Economic Developer Billie Jo Hoffman was not at Monday’s meeting, but City Administrator John Bird commented.
“She has been very busy, and there are a couple of prospects for the former Alco and Food Pride buildings. Hopefully we’ll know more in December and she’ll report some good news.”
Bird also commented, “I’ve received a few calls about the ShopKo project. There’s a little scuttlebutt out there that the deal fell through and that’s not at all true. The reason that they have held off, in addition to the weather, we just today (Monday) got from the DOT, the design of the highway access. That’s what they’ve been waiting for. They actually have not even closed on the property because they’ve been waiting for that. They still fully intend to go forward. They were just waiting for the DOT.”
City Administrator John Bird talked to Carmen Moser, Palo Alto County Auditor, about the possibility of holding a special election to fill the council vacancy in Ward 2.
“We won’t have a vacancy until after tonight (Monday),” said Bird. “So I would assume that on Dec.. 14 you would take formal action, if it’s the council’s intent to hold a special election. There is a minimum of 32 days from the date that you notify the county auditor.”
Bird noted that the county has scheduled two drainage hearings for Jan. 19 which will be held at the Election Center. If the council plans to have a special election on that Tuesday, Jan. 19, the polling place would have to be moved. Other possibilities are Jan. 26 or into February.
“If, on Dec. 14, you took action and notified the county auditor to schedule a special election, it actually could be held as early as the 19th (of January) or on the 26th,” Bird told the council.
Nov. 23 was the final meeting for Ward 2 councilman Tony Kauten.