Opportunities to be involved in local decision making will abound on March 3.
The Creston City Council set 6 p.m. March 3 as a public hearing date for its budget, the sale of property and two grant applications at its regular meeting Feb. 14 in the Creston Restored Depot.
Creston Community Schools Superintendent Deron Stender explained the importance of the PPEL vote on March 3 at that same meeting.
The special election to approve the continuation of the physical plant and equipment levy or PPEL — a 67 cent per $1,000 property tax that supports building and vehicle maintenance and purchases for the school — will be held 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. March 3. See the Feb. 13 Creston News Advertiser for the full story entitled “Imagine what would happen if you lost your job today.”
The first of two state-mandated public hearings for the city’s FY ‘21 budget will allow citizens to comment on the budget allocations before the council votes to make the budget official. The proposed city budget is available online in the city council agenda or https://tinyurl.com/2021crestonbudget. The public hearing to approve the maximum tax levy rate for FY ‘21 received no comment from the public, either written or in person and was passed unanimously by the council Feb. 18.
Habitat for Humanity would like to purchase two lots on North Jarvis Street from the city to build two low-cost houses. Habitat for Humanity has partnered with Southwestern Community College and local high school trade programs to build eight homes in the area. This public hearing was also set for March 3.
A third public hearing the same evening is set to approve the Creston Police Department’s plan to submit grant applications to USDA Rural Development to purchase a new patrol vehicle and a mobile firearms and force options simulator.
Union County Assessor Mindy Schaefer appeared before the council to ask the city to consider participating financially in a county-wide reevaluation of residential property values sometime in the next few years.
Schaefer explained that although it is recommended to conduct a reevaluation every 10 to 15 years, the last one in Union County was completed in 1985, 35 years ago. The city’s contribution to this effort would be $77,900, which could be spread over three to four years.
“It came up to be about $19.50 per parcel, which for the city of Creston puts us at ... $77,900,” Schaefer said.
She estimated the rate of return — the time it would take to recoup the costs — for the city to be less than one year.
Jesse Bolinger of Bolinger Solutions asked the council to support Creston:Arts and the renovations for the new art center at the corner of North Division and West Adams streets by pledging $5,000 for the next three years.
“Creston:Arts is already in the process of converting the building for use as a community art center,” Bolinger said.
Mayor Gabe Carroll informed Bolinger that the Hotel/Motel funds have already been allocated so this will not be possible. Council member Rich Madison said that the council should work on an application system so that requests such as this one can be worked into the budget fairly during budgeting sessions in the fall. City Administrator Mike Taylor said an application process has been discussed, but is not in place yet.
Bolinger also invited the council and the public to attend a special announcement at the building, 411 N. Adams St. 4 p.m. March 6.
In other council business,
resolutions were passed unanimously, with no discussion, to:
• authorize survey work at the Creston Municipal Airport.
• approve the rental of Rotating Algae Biofilm Wastewater Treatment equipment for $150,000 and a grant to pay for it not to exceed $200,000.
• pay $56,394.85 to CL Carroll Co. for work completed at the wastewater treatment facility.
• approve a contract with Cornerstone Commercial Contracting for the uptown facade project.
The Creston City Council meets the first and third Tuesday of each month on the second floor inside the council chambers at the Creston Restored Depot. Agendas and minutes are available at www.crestoniowa.gov.