City to team up with task force

Ashley Smith · Wednesday, November 29, 2017
The council met on Tuesday, Nov. 21 to discuss a resolution approving a development agreement with the West Liberty Downtown Task Force.

The resolution pledges Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenue to assist with downtown improvements in light of the city's application for a Community Development Block Grant.

"The agreement is to set up a distribution from our TIF development with Alta Ventures to allocate a percentage over to the downtown task force," explained City Treasurer Lee Geertz.

The fund would be used to make improvements to the West Liberty downtown area, she said.

"Federal grants don't always come totally free - you have to have matching funds from cities, organizations or other entities. Basically what this would do is to use some of the TIF money to fund the city's portion of the CDBG grant," added Mayor Robert Hartman.

"It's essentially just to match those funds, if we are awarded the grant," he said.

Ultimately, the council voted to table the resolution pending clarification from city attorneys regarding annual appropriation amounts.

The council unanimously approved resolutions to file Tax Increment Financing Certification and 2016-17 Annual Financial Report to the county and state auditors' offices, as well as the 2016-17 Urban Renewal Report to the Iowa Department of Management.

City Engineer Leo Foley presented updates on the Maxson Avenue Improvement Project.

The contractor is planning to put down sod, reseeding residents' yards with grass before the end of the calendar year, said Foley.

"Late season sod, it goes dormant, and when it rains in the spring, supposedly it comes up fabulous," he said.

According to Foley, the contractors are confident the late season sod will grow grass next spring, but if it does not, they will have to re-sod the ground at their own expense.

The entire street improvement project is expected to last another three weeks, said Foley.

Other upcoming municipal projects include pump repairs at a lift station in the Terrace Ridge subdivision and pH sensor equipment at the Water Treatment Plant.

In other business, the council approved a Class C Liquor License for El Palenque Bar in downtown West Liberty.

"We've had some complaints of patrons there being loud after hours," said chief of police Kary Kinmonth. 

"We've been watching it closely over the last month or so, and they are taking steps to comply," he said.

The council also discussed congested parking issues in front of West Liberty Middle School of 7th Street, where drivers park along the curb to pick up students at dismissal.

"There will be no overnight solution for it, and I'll visit with the Mayor and maybe have a public safety meeting," said Kinmonth. 
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