city council

Tax incentive plan for development approved

Housing needs expected to increase as fuel plant construction begins

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Lake Preston’s City Council met Monday night at City Hall at 7 p.m., right after a special zoning meeting at 6 p.m. that covered costs associated with housing developments and lots, and the revenues expected to result from new housing. Representatives from Headpin, LLC explained details related to the creation of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district in the city.

The zoning meeting focused on the expected need for new housing related mostly to the construction of the new Gevo sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) plant. The participants cited examples of tax incentives previously used in nearby towns, particularly De Smet. The meeting concluded with a vote on a resolution to approve the creation of a TIF district in the city and move forward with associated planning, which was approved.

The City Council meeting kicked off at 7 p.m., and Mayor Andy Wienk discussed what the agenda for the evening would cover. The first topic of business for public discussion was the newly-approved TIF, with two resolutions presented for votes: creating a new tax ID for the TIF, and approving the overall TIF plan. Both resolutions were approved by roll call vote.

The TIF plan involved a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between the city, the Economic Development Board, and Headpin, LLC to cover what each participant would contribute financially for the TIF district. Headpin representatives explained what is involved with creating the TIF district, and how the payments to Headpin LLC would be covered by future tax revenues.

Headpin stressed that the school district would not lose tax dollars during this process, and the mayor explained that people who buy the properties would first submit down payments that they would get back once they build. A motion to approve the MoA passed by voice vote.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

This meeting included time for public comments, during which one resident spoke. She claimed that a neighbor has been harassing her and her sister over trees on his property that she claims have overgrown onto her property and are scratching her car when she pulls out of her garage. Mayor Wienk explained that the city has no legal authority to intervene in the situation, and if the neighbors cannot resolve the issue between themselves, then they might need to involve lawyers and/or a mediator. A friendly resolution between neighbors was advised as the most prudent and cost-effective solution.

WATER / SEWER PROJECT UPDATE

Banner Associates provided an update on Phase 1 of the water/sewer project managed by Halme. They gave a rundown of installation of various pipes, soil, and gravel, as well as asphalt paving and concrete work. The plan is for 4th Street to be milled up this week, and for utility work to be started there next week. Work is a bit behind schedule overall, and future discussions will determine whether more asphalt work will be done this year. The hope is for striping to be done next week, and a few additional diagonal parking spaces might be created as well.

One council member mentioned that there previously had been talk about creating an alley for some residents to be able to get to their houses while their street is torn up for this construction project. The Banner representative suggested that if that situation arises, a request for special accommodation can be made to Halme.

Banner also submitted another pay request from Halme for work done thus far (pay request #5), which was totaled over $500,000. The request was put up to a voice vote, and was approved.

WATER/SEWER PROJECT UPDATE

Brian Zeeck presented a water/sewer/street report. Some sewer maintenance has been done on the south side of town, but more work in other areas where construction is ongoing will have to wait. Some more potholes have been filled, and cost estimates are being obtained for future curb/gutter/road surfacing work, possibly one block at a time. If some additional funding becomes available, including possible grant monies, then even more work can be completed. Roads newly paved will be sealed 3-5 years after completion, and fog sealing is preferred.

FINANCE OFFICE REPORT

Next, Brenda Klug presented a finance office report. She passed around a new library volunteer sheet. The mayor speculated that Chamber Bucks could potentially be given to volunteers as a way to let them know that their work to keep the library open is appreciated. Potential dollar amounts were proposed, and a motion to authorize $100 in Chamber Bucks was approved by voice vote.

EMPLOYEE/COUNCIL CONCERNS

For employee concerns, Brian Zeeck mentioned a robot cleaner needed at the pool, which was discussed in prior meetings and would cost between $4,000 and $6,000. However, it was decided to table consideration of that item for next year’s budget.

For council concerns, Joe Schnell brought up that the current street sweeper is in possible need of replacement, due to constant repairs. He mentioned a potential replacement vehicle for sale by auction in Huron, but since it was made in 1989, the mayor suggested that a newer vehicle might be a wiser investment.

The meeting was live-streamed on the city’s Facebook page and had 19 people tuned in. The council adjourned the meeting at approximately 8pm for Executive Session.

PRIOR MEETINGS

The minutes of both the July 11 regular meeting and the July 26 special meeting were approved by the Council. The only committee report discussed was for the budget committee, which had a meeting said to have gone well.

OTHER BUSINESS

• A motion was proposed to employ Council member Joe Schnell temporarily at the landfill. The motion was approved by voice vote, with Joe abstaining.

• Finance officer Brenda Klug will be on vacation later this week and early next week.

• A special budget meeting needs to be scheduled for the entire Council, and August 23 was decided on as the best date to work for everyone; the meeting was set for 6pm that day.

• Approval of claims and the financial report were both done by voice vote.

• Old business included the approval of one building permit, and there was nothing new to cover related to nuisance properties. But it was pointed out that the outside code enforcer is updating documentation on every property each time he comes to town, which was roundly appreciated.

• New business included 2023 Budget Ordinance 452-22, which deals with appropriation of funds totaling over $713,000. A motion to adopt the ordinance was presented, which passed unanimously by roll call vote.

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