KEYSTONE HEIGHTS

Redevelopment plan passes first hurdle


Published: Thursday, January 22, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 at 11:53 p.m.

A source of funding for redevelopment projects is within the city's grasp. Councilwoman Peggy Dixon said the city received the necessary approval to carry out the Community Redevelopment Plan, which would allow the city to use revenues from property tax increases within the Community Redevelopment Area.

The redevelopment area includes commercial and mixed use zoning areas in the heart of the city. The area targeted for redevelopment represents about one-third of the city, specifically 172 acres which is roughly about 30 percent of the city's 580 acres.

Redevelopment funding would be based on new businesses locating in the redevelopment area and the tax value of those businesses. The dollar value of all real property in the Community Redevelopment Area is determined as of a fixed date, known as the "frozen value."

The county continues to receive property tax revenues based on the frozen value. Tax revenues resulting from increases to the frozen value are deposited into the Community Redevelopment Agency Trust Fund and are dedicated to funding redevelopment activities in the Community Redevelopment Area.

City Attorney Rob Bradley said if tax increment funds (TIF) exceed $200,000 then the CRA and the county would split 50-50 any funds in excess of $200,000. Time limitations were set at 30 years per state statutes.

"It was a good day at the county," Bradley said.

Planner Susan Fraser said the next step is a presentation at the Feb. 10 meeting of the Board of Clay County Commissioners. At that meeting, the City is expected to ask Clay County to enter into an Interlocal Agreement to set the boundaries of the Community Redevelopment Area.

The city and county must agree on which areas need redevelopment. Among the conditions that determine need are potential septic tank failures on small downtown lots; inadequate fire flow pressure for fighting fires in the commercial buildings; no centralized sewer and deficient water system; and problems related to traffic congestion, and parking.

Provided the state approves the CRA, the plan and the trust fund could be in place by the end of the summer.

City election qualifying

Incumbents Mayor Archie Green, Seat 4, and Vice-Mayor Ginger Johns, Seat 2, have thrown their hats in the electoral ring. Green, who is facing term limits, qualified for Johns' seat, while Johns qualified for Green's seat.

Bruce Harvin, who works for the Clay County Fairgrounds and is active in the Keystone Recreation Association, qualified for Seat 2 and will be facing Green in the March elections.

This year, voters will also be asked if the city should increase bid requirements, but by how much is yet to be determined. While going out for paving proposals, it came to light, the city charter establishes bid requirements at $1,000, but the city has been operating under a $5,000 bid requirement.

City Clerk Karen Nelson said the city passed an ordinance in 1995 raising the bid requirements to $5,000, but the matter was not taken to the voters and the charter was not amended. (Bid requirements determine what jobs have to go through the bidding process).

City residents wishing to run for office have until noon, Feb. 3 to qualify for the March 2 city elections.

Election packets are available at city hall. To qualify a candidate must be at least 18, a city resident and pay filing fees - $25 to the city and $72 to the state. For more information call City Hall at 473-4807.

Aida Mallard can be reached at 473-4625 or aida1123@aol.com.

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