Jeff council okays $5K for signage study, $24K for Vision 20/20

The Jefferson city council approved an additional $5,000 for a design proposal for wayfinding signage, but the source of funding is contrary to council policy.

Jefferson Matters: Main Street received a $5,000 grant from Main Street Iowa for a signage study along Highway 4 south to Lincoln Way and into the downtown district. The city of Jefferson matched the grant with another $5,000.

RDG Planning and Design is working with Jefferson Matters. The company wants to expand the proposal to include from Lincoln Way south to the golf course and east and west on Lincoln Way. The company has added $5,000 to the cost to expand the project, bringing the total to $15,000.

Mayor Craig Berry said the funding would come from the city’s hotel/motel tax fund and the council approved the expenditure.

However, according to the council’s policy for use of hotel/motel tax funds approved in December, 2015, funds available after disbursements are made to the Greene County Chamber of Commerce and Thomas Jefferson Gardens shall be distributed to 501(c)3 organizations through an application process.

The policy does not allow for the city to disburse funds except through the application process.

Vision 20/20 – The city council also approved paying a $24,000 share of the Vision 20/20 project, first introduced as Community 360. Zach Mannheimer has brought together five consulting firms to write a comprehensive report of what should be done, how it can be done, cost estimates for projects, and possible funding sources. The goal is to position Greene County to attract young people as residents in the coming decades.

The total cost of the study is $98,000. The initial proposal called for $25,000 from Greene County Development Corporation, $24,000 from the city of Jefferson and Greene County, and the remaining $25,000 coming from businesses and private donations. Since the proposal was made in late February, GCDC has already moved forward, ready to back the entire cost if other entities don’t agree to funding.

The county supervisors have spent much time discussing the project but had not yet agreed to a financial commitment.

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