Jeff council hears update from county, okays waiving permit fee for Pillar reno

County representatives are visiting this month with city councils in Jefferson, Grand Junction, Dana and Paton. Portions of those towns are in the proposed urban renewal district necessary to use tax increment financing (TIF) revenue for the new career academy.

County environmental health and zoning administrator Chuck Wenthold spoke during the open forum at the Sept. 11 Jefferson city council meeting. Supervisor Pete Bardole was with him but did not speak.

Wenthold gave the city council a map showing the first 41 wind turbines in the Beaver Creek Wind Park connected via gravel and paved roads to the career academy. He alerted the council that in the next month the county will ask the city councils to sign an agreement accepting the plan.

Council member Larry Teeples asked about urban renewal districts already in place. Wenthold answered that because the career academy is a non-taxable entity, there would be no impact on the city’s urban renewal district.

Wenthold also updated the council on activities of the North Raccoon Watershed Management Coalition. Greene County is a member of the coalition; the city is not. Buena Vista and Pocahontas counties formed the coalition to be able to use $3 million in federal grant funds for flood-related items. The watershed stretches from Storm Lake to Des Moines.

A coordinator and a group of engineering companies have been hired and a plan is being written that includes the entire watershed. The first flood work will be done in Buena Vista and Pocahontas counties.

Having a plan in place for the entire watershed will allow the group to seek more federal funds in the future, Wenthold said.

Also during the open forum, Richie Burkhardt asked the council to amend the city ordinance pertaining to grass clippings in the street to include sand and gravel. He said a storm drain on N. Cedar St gets plugged by sand and gravel left on the street by a nearby cement company.

The council approved waiving the building permit fee for East State Street Properties LLC for the renovation of 204-206 E. State St. The building will be leased to Pillar Technology when work is completed. The amount waived is $2,892.50.

Building/zoning officer Nick Sorensen told the council a building permit is not required for a remodel, but the developer, Chris Deal, wants to access the inspection service that comes with the permit.

The city council in February unanimously approved an application for a Community Catalyst grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority for the project, with the building permit fee named as the city’s match for the grant. The vote on that resolution was unanimous. The $100,000 grant was awarded. Total cost of the renovation is $1.7 million.

Council member Dave Sloan voted against the September resolution to waive the fee. He said after the meeting he didn’t want to be inconsistent in collecting permit fees.

City administrator reported the Jefferson Community Betterment Foundation has received a $10,000 grant from Union Pacific Railroad toward constructing a walking trail from the Milwaukee Road depot east to the municipal cemetery. The trail is part of the city’s east entryway plan.

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