Jeff council okays its role in building renovation for Pillar Technologies

County’s ideas on EMS “not worth reporting,” the mayor says

The Jefferson city council at its Oct. 9 meeting approved $231,000 in financial assistance for the renovation of the buildings at 204-06 E. State St. The 19th Century building will become the local “Forge” for Pillar Technologies. Developer for the project is Chris Deal, doing business as East State Street Properties LLC.

The council approved a $150,000 interest-free economic development forgivable loan with repayment over 10 years. The loan is contingent on East State Street Properties obtaining the remainder of the financing needed. The city will fund the $150,000 loan with proceeds from tax increment financing.

The agreement is similar to the agreement with Ray and Rosie Tucker for the renovation of what is now Sensibly Chic on the south side of the downtown square.

The council also approved a façade improvement grant of $81,970 for the project. The grant comes from $300,000 the city placed in a fund for Phase 2 of a downtown façade improvement projects. The grant requires an equal match from the grantee.

Façade improvements will include second story windows, tuckpointing, painting, work on the north (rear) entry and other projects. Building/zoning administrator Nick Sorensen reminded the council that when the city wrote guidelines for Phase 2 of the façade program, which is receiving no federal Community Block Grant funds, it allowed for work on the rear of buildings. “Typically, that’s the worst part of the building because that’s where all the water runs to and all the damage happens,” he said.

Design plans for the Forge include a small outdoor patio area for employees behind the building.

Total cost of the E. State St project is $1.7 million. The city’s portion of the project is 13.5 percent of the total. As a comparison, Sorensen said the project at Sensibly Chic totaled $335,000, with the city’s involvement being $150,000, or 45 percent.

The city council also on Tuesday adopted a resolution approving a forgivable loan agreement with East State Street Properties for a $100,000 Catalyst grant through the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The state funds will be disbursed to the project via the city.

The council approved the purchase of a RenoSys PVC membrane liner for the municipal swimming pool at a cost of $86,516. The liner is a longer-term solution to problems with the floor and walls of the 80-year-old pool.

In researching the RenoSys liner, city staff determined that covering the pool during the off-season will significantly extend the life of the liner. After discussion, the council requested the purchase of a cover be placed on the Oct. 23 meeting agenda. Cost of the cover is $21,570.

The liner and cover can be installed yet this fall, according to park and recreation director Vicky Lautner.

The council approved a resolution that will allow the city to add an August expenditure of $31,000 for a greens mower and spray cart for the golf course onto a future bond sale. The purchase of an ultra high pressure fire truck for $125,471 is also on the “future bond list,” along with the pool liner. City administrator Mike Palmer said a bond will be issued to cover that debt so as to “replenish” the general fund.

The council approved the second reading of ordinances to increase water and sewer rates by 3 percent. As with the first reading, council member Matt Gordon cast a dissenting vote.
The council approved a resolution combining the lots at 300-308 N. Elm St (A & W Family Restaurant and the now-vacant lot to the north) for zoning and tax purpose. A parking lot and storage shed will be built on the vacant lot.

The council also approved the appointment of Tracy Deal to the park and recreation board. She replaces Heather Ruzicka on the board.

While the future of emergency medical services is a topic of much discussion around the county, it is not  worth discussion by the city council, according to mayor Craig Berry.

During the “reports” portion of the meeting, Berry said he had met with Greene County supervisors John Muir and Pete Bardole about the EMS system. “Nothing was brought forward other than some ideas they have, and so it wasn’t really worth reporting. I just wanted to say I went to a meeting with them to see what they had to say,” the mayor said.

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