The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

November 8, 2012

DeWitt focuses on economic development

By Janet Huffman
Herald Correspondent

DEWITT — Three public hearings related to economic development highlighted the DeWitt City Council meeting Monday.

The first public hearing was required to amend the urban renewal plan so that specific projects utilizing Tax Increment Financing funds are listed. The amended plan identified eight projects in progress or anticipated in the DeWitt development district. All projects or combinations of projects must be necessary in the interest of public health, safety or welfare for residents of DeWitt. Following the public hearings, the amendment to the urban renewal plan was given approval.

The second public hearing was necessary before approving a development agreement with Black Cat Blades, a Canadian company that has purchased the JRB building in DeWitt's industrial park. The company manufactures parts, such as blades and teeth, for heavy equipment and is obligated to offer a minimum of 50 jobs in the next three years.

The development agreement, which was later approved, provides up to $70,000 in TIF payments. According to City Administrator Steve Lindner, the actual amount is $61,000, the required local match for funds from the state Economic Development Administration.

The third public hearing concerned a residential housing development with D&N investment partnership for the Jacobsen farm subdivision. This is a 34-lot subdivision with 19 family lots and 15 condominium units on 15.4 acres on  the city's west side. The rebate agreement is for 10 years with a maximum of $1.5 million over that time. The development targets lower cost new housing and has two tiers of rebates.

For houses of less than $210,000, 100 percent of available TIF funds after 39 percent is taken for the required low-and moderate-income account can be used. For homes sold above $210,000, the typical rebate will be 50 percent. This includes cost of land, infrastructure, engineering and interest as well as a 3 percent inflation index.

Because the development agreement was not available until just before the meeting time, the council voted to table it so that it could be studied prior to the next council meeting.

In infrastructure business, the council accepted the east side drainage district project of 2011 and approved a change order of $16,841 which decreases the total cost to $443,516. The change order reflects materials actually consumed in the project. There is a two-year warranty on the project with contractor K&N Excavating of Hampton, Ill.

A change order was also approved for the current 11th Street west of Sixth Avenue street resurfacing project. The order in the amount of $20,575 brings the total cost to $1,294,621. Contractor Horsfield Construction of Epworth expects to paint and install signs this week and finish seeding in the spring.

Contract days remain for the project but the street should be fully opened in a week or two, Lindner said.

In addition, the council approved a contract with IIW Engineers of Dubuque for professional services in the 2013 reconstruction project of Sixth Avenue from St. Joseph's Catholic Church to the Union Pacific Railroad on DeWitt's south end. The services include preliminary design and construction documentation, administration, observation and staking at a cost of $237,074. The project is a top priority of the city's capital improvement plan.