By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
City council members voted to approve a $5,000 expenditure from the city’s sales tax fund for legal fees related to the redevelopment plan in the Cornerstone property where Scott’s Pump Service operates.
Action at Monday’s meeting, came after a favorable vote at a meeting last Friday from the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), which makes recommendations to the city council for use of economic development (LB840) sales tax funds.
The $5,000 will come out of the sales tax fund, then be paid back after the city begins realizing tax increment financing (TIF) money.
City Clerk/Administrator Jo Leyland said they anticipate about $62,000 in the redirected property tax funds to be available from the Scott’s Pump Service development in Cornerstone through TIF.
At a Jan. 12 meeting, the Imperial Planning Commission approved a resolution modifying the general redevelopment plan in Cornerstone in an area previously declared blighted and substandard where Scott’s Pump Service built its new building last year.
The anticipated TIF funds will be used for infrastructure development along East 2nd Street in Cornerstone.
According to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, TIF provides a means of encouraging private investment in “blighted and substandard” areas by allowing local governments to use future property tax revenues to finance infrastructure costs needed to attract development.
In this case, instead of the new property taxes created from the Scott’s Pump Service development going to other local taxing entities (e.g. county, school districts, NRD, etc.), they are redirected to the city for infrastructure development costs.
Nebraska voters approved TIF in 1978 and the Unicameral passed enabling legislation in 1979. The legislature has revised the TIF statutes numerous times since.
Other development possible
According to the Citizens Advisory Committee meeting minutes from Jan. 15, other development may be coming to Cornerstone.
The CAC voted 3-0 to forward to the Planning Commission a replat offered by an investment/development company known as Oppidan in Block 1, Lot 1 in Cornerstone. The Planning Commission will address it at a Feb. 9 meeting.
The CAC also voted 3-0 to price a lot at $100,000 and an “outlot” at $35,000 in the proposed Oppidan replat, located in the northeast part of Cornerstone.
Oppidan’s website describes the firm as a developer of “well-designed, well-built properties” for industry-leading retailers and investors.
In other action at last Friday’s meeting, the CAC voted to approve up to $30,000 for lighting along East 3rd Street.
The police department will be getting a new computer and a speed enforcement evaluator on a pair a 4-0 council votes. Chief Ryan Wisnieski said he budgeted for the $4,045 speed detector, which can monitor speeds in specific areas through mounted equipment. He said when people complain about speeds near their homes, as an example, it’s expensive to have an officer observe the traffic and record speeds. The machine would replace that. A new office computer was not in the budget, Wisnieski said. The current computer, at least seven years old, is not fast enough anymore, he noted, especially when downloading video evidence. He received a quote from Prairie Wind PCs of McCook for $1,002.90, which will come out of the police department’s operating or capital equipment funds.
Community Development Director Jason Tuller gave the semi-annual report on use of LB840 (sales tax) funds, the half used for economic development. Some of the expenditures in the July 1 to Dec. 31, 2015 report period included $1,500 for the Shop Imperial Campaign and $10,000 for utility hookup waivers (one home, one business). No new loan applications were received. The council approved the report.
Mayor Dwight Coleman secured another appointment to one of the city boards. Jill Moline agreed to be reappointed to the city’s community center commission, or theatre board, which was approved. The mayor is still seeking appointments to the Planning Commission, park and tree commission and one more to the theatre board.
New police officer Daniel Morales is scheduled to start his training at the Law Enforcement Training Center in Grand Island in late August, reported Chief Wisnieski. The chief will also be attending an upcoming disaster preparedness two-day training in Hebron.
Sanitation sewer installations will be starting soon along East 3rd Street in the Cornerstone property, according to Public Works Director Pat Davison. Water main services will be next. Van Kirk Bros. has the bid for the work. The council approved funding last year for the development of that street which includes paving. Regarding Mt. Hope Cemetery, all of the trees along the south have been removed, he said, with new fence expected to be installed by Memorial Day.
The annual appreciation dinner for citizen-staffed board members and employees will be held in late February, but a date was not finalized. City Clerk/Administrator Leyland suggested something different this year after the meal, possibly a movie at the theatre. No decisions were made.
The council’s Feb. 15 meeting will be moved a day later, to Feb. 16, due to the President’s Day holiday. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. in the council chambers.