SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES - - January 31, 2022
January 31, 2022
ACKLEY CITY COUNCIL met in special session January 31, 2022 in the Ackley Council Chambers with Mayor Michael Nuss presiding. The meeting was called to order at 4:30 p.m. Council members present: Chuy Flores, Joe Wessels, Mike Abbas, Judy Crawford, and Dan Scallon. Crawford attendance by electronic device due to prior obligations. Quorum present.
Scallon moved, Flores seconded to approve the January 31, 2022 Agenda as listed. Ayes-all. Motion carried.
Abbas moved, Wessels seconded to open the public hearing at 4:32 pm for the IEDA CDBG-CV Commercial Façade Grant on 605 Main St. Ayes-all. Motion carried.
Joan Frazier informed council that Ibeling Insurance was excited to take part in this grant opportunity. Frazier reports they paid the funds up front for the Architectural rendering. Ibeling Insurance plans to remove and replace the awning, new windows, tuck pointing, and repair the first-floor entries. Frazier believes this will increase the tax base and improve the look of downtown. Julie Winter from Region 6 was in attendance. Winter stated the building is blighted and has deteriorated windows, wooden shaker shingles that are rotting, amongst other deteriorating conditions. The total price is $112,000 to which $100,000 would come from the grant, $10,000 from Jeff/Joan Frazier, $1,000 from the Ackley Development Commission, and $1,000 from the City.
The COVID pandemic has not benefited commercial owners in Ackley. Ibeling Insurance has had COVID impacts including revenue loss to the insurance industry. Downtown foot traffic has decreased, and downtown properties continue to deteriorate. Locals estimate that revenue for local entertainment businesses is down about 20% when compared to pre-COVID times. The downtown lost a Mexican restaurant since the pandemic started, making for 9 total vacant commercial buildings in the downtown. It is incredibly important to Ackley’s downtown commercial longevity that the city works to remove blight from downtown buildings and preserve those spaces for commercial uses. The community wishes to see a transformation in its downtown with ongoing blight removal.
The City will submit this application on or before 2/4/22 to the IEDA for this project. The city should hear whether the project is funded in March or April 2022. All activities with this project are done on a voluntary basis. Construction work under this project can commence after all the necessary environmental and historic reviews and bidding. The construction start date is anticipated to be sometime in summer of 2022. The projects will be finished by June 2023. No people or businesses will be displaced as a result of these projects.
Council and Winter discussed community development and housing assessments with the improvements to wastewater, demolition needs, nuisance properties, water valves and plant, the 700 block of Main St., and sidewalk repairs being listed as concerns.
Wessels raised concerns about the grant and inquired as to how many other downtown businesses were interested in the grant. He showed concern with the city funding downtown businesses and how the city would have to help others if they helped this business and there weren’t funds available for that. Winter and Mayor Nuss informed Wessels, there were 2 different grants. Winter went on to explain this particular grant is due to Covid and was a part of the American Rescue Plan. Crawford stated $1,000 shows a small token of good faith on the City’s part.
Abbas moved, Flores seconded to close the public hearing at 4:52 p.m. Ayes-all. Motion carried.
Crawford moved, Scallon seconded to approve Resolution 22-04 Approving the Application for the Iowa Economic Development Authority Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Covid Program for Commercial Façade Improvement at 605 Main Street. Roll Call Vote: Ayes-Abbas, Crawford, Scallon, Flores. Nays-Wessels. Motion carried.
Abbas moved, Scallon seconded to open the public hearing for the Proposed Property Tax Levy for fiscal year ending June 30, 2023 at 4:54 p.m. Ayes-all. Motion carried.
No comments, concerns, or objections were given or stated.
Scallon moved, Flores seconded to close the public hearing for the Proposed Property Tax Levy at 4:55 pm. Ayes-all. Motion carried.
Abbas moved, Flores seconded to approve Resolution 22-05 Approving the FY23 Maximum Property Tax Dollars. Roll Call Vote: Ayes-Abbas, Crawford, Scallon, Flores, Wessels. Motion carried.
Crawford left the meeting at 4:57 p.m.
Discussion on the FY23 budget. Clerk Dennis went through the budget by line item per request from council members to better understand each line. Department heads presented their budgets. Dennis informed council that the City is over budget in the General Fund and would need to cut line items so she could present a balanced budget to the Department of Management. Dennis informed council about the changes in the construction cost for the North Butler Street Project. Wessels requested council have until Thursday to look through the budget worksheets and have another meeting to try and finalize. Special meeting was set for February 3, 2022 at 5:30 in council chambers.
Wessels moved, Flores seconded to adjourn at 7:57 p.m. Ayes-4. Absent-1. Motion carried.
Michael Nuss, Mayor
Malena Dennis, City Clerk