Jeff council moves ahead with housing rehab, okays new special projects position

Six Jefferson homeowners will have financial help rehabilitating their homes with $245,000 in grant funds from a Community Development Block Grant to Region XII Council of Governments for owner-occupied housing.

The Jefferson city council at its Nov. 14 meeting approved a contract with the Iowa Economic Development Authority for the project. The city’s share will be $3,000 each for up to six projects.

The grant funds will provide income-qualified homeowners assistance to complete substantial repairs to their homes. Assistance will be provided as a forgivable loan or with little or no interest on the modest monthly payments.

The targeted area for the projects is primarily the two blocks north of W. Lincoln Way between Elm St and Grimmell Road. All homeowners in the target area were given an opportunity to pre-qualify for the program to determine need as part of the grant application.

Homeowners who met the pre-qualification standards will received letters in about 30 days, according to Ashley Owens of Region XII. Full applications will be accepted after the first of the year. The city council’s housing committee will review the applications and select participants.

Need for increased safety and energy efficiency are primary criteria for the projects.

A new daycare center in Jefferson may be on the horizon. The council approved a plat of survey for 1.3 acres owned by Nick Foster in the 1500 block of Westwood Drive. The stated use of the property is construction of a daycare facility.

The council approved creation of a part-time special projects coordinator position and gave the job to building and zoning officer Nick Sorensen. The job is targeted at 10 hours a week and will pay $10,000 annually. The job is in addition to his current position.

According to the job description, the special projects coordinator will develop, coordinate and implement special projects for the city including, but not limited to the acquisition of real estate, rehabilitation of structures, grant submission and administration, economic development and development agreements.

The council also got its first look at the quarterly report that will be reviewed by the new finance committee.

The report shows revenues and expenses for the quarter ending Oct. 31 for the city’s general fund and enterprise funds. It shows what was budgeted in each category and the percentage of revenue collected or expenses incurred to date. For example, the cemetery revenues were budgeted at $20,600 and expenses were budgeted at $102,075. To date, the city has collected $4,635 in revenue (22.5 percent) and has paid $26,621 in expenses (26 percent).

According to council member Harry Ahrenholtz, the reports will show if there are areas of concern as they develop, and they’ll “be a way for everybody to be more involved in the full scope of the departments.”

“They’ll also provide an opportunity for interested parties in the community to know what’s happening with the budget,” he said.

The report is available to the public now as hard copy at the municipal building. It will be posted to the city website, cityofjeffersoniowa.org, in the future.
Discussion of the report will be on the agenda for the Nov. 28 meeting.

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