Prior to their May 8 meeting, the Spring Valley City Council held a tax abatement public hearing.
Mike Bubany, of David Drown Associates, explained, “Last time I was here I presented bond recommendations for financing your street project this year. One of the things we talked about is what statutory authority to issue the debt. Cities have a lot of flexibility in how they structure their debt, they have to cite specific authority in law that allows them to do so. With the road projects you had in mind we were limited in some of our options, so we selected tax abatement.”
Bubany noted this is a “paper exercise” and nothing will be different in how your taxes are handled for those parcels listed, so when the levies go to the county level, this will be spread out amongst the rest of the city with the other levies.
“For everyone in this room, you should just view it as a regular old debt levy and nothing different. Unfortunately, the statute requires us to publish those parcels and do this exercise,” Bubany clarified.
During the regular meeting, the council voted to approve a resolution authorizing a tax abatement on property for the purpose of financing improvements to Territorial Road, Broadway Avenue and certain alleyways.
The city also approved the sale of the 2023A bond to Northland Securities, Inc for the purchase price of $1,527,582.55 with a net effective rate of 3.3043%.
Spring Valley Business Alliance proposal
Spring Valley Business Alliance representative Dan Freeman shared a proposal to create seating areas throughout the downtown area.
The alliance was formed in 2022 and now has 28 members from local business owners.
“Our purpose is to foster growth, improve and advocate for businesses in the Spring Valley area,” Freeman shared.
The group recently held a masquerade ball fundraiser in which they raised $5,500. They would like to put those funds towards what they call “The Broadway Project.”
“The Broadway Project is an effort by the alliance to make downtown Spring Valley a safe and more welcome place and to make downtown a gathering place,” Freeman explained. “Our vision is to create some seating areas downtown and ways to restrict traffic so that it increases the safety for pedestrians and people parking downtown.”
Freeman noted this is just the experimental phase and if approved by the council they would create the spaces temporary and over time they would collect feedback from the public and council members as to how they feel the concept is working.
The seating areas would use parking spaces on the ends of each block of downtown Broadway Avenue with the theory that this would create a more restricted roadway which would in turn slow traffic downs and help prevent drivers from going the wrong way down the oneway.
“We are willing to commit $3,000, so other than some coordination with your city maintenance we would hope there are no city funds involved. We would just need your approval to move forward. We would also contribute up to $2,500 for (temporary) plantings such as trees, flowers and the like,” Freeman said.
If approved, the alliance would like to have a contest for the design and painting of the barrier boards to add another pop of art to downtown.
“I think the main goal is to turn that two-block section of downtown into a place, more than just a street. If we could have more stuff happening down there we can make it a community gathering space,” alliance member Jenn Slifka expressed.
The council determined they will hold a (yet to be scheduled) special meeting, so they can get opinions from city engineer Drew Weber and Public Works Director Chad Hindt.
Squad car proposal
Fillmore County Sheriff John DeGeorge and Chief Deputy Lance Boyum approached the council to share their proposal for the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Department to purchase the city’s three squad cars. In return the city would pay an annual fee for use of the cars.
The county has the same contract with Mabel and Harmony and, according to DeGeorge, it has worked well for all involved.
“It simplifies things for us, because a lot of nights we cover with county deputies. The part-time resource that we used for so many years in law enforcement, especially in Spring Valley, is kind of going away with the lack of law enforcement recruits. So we have been filling those shifts with full-time deputies and we haven’t been assessing any kind of fuel or squad car usage cost to the city, but this fixes all that, as well,” DeGeorge explained.
DeGeorge and Boyum, who manages the county’s fleet of squad cars, shared a cost estimate with the council. When broken down, the cost of ownership per year over a four-year period, which is the average time the county keeps their squads, it would be approximately $14,062. The estimated value of the three squads is currently $78,000. This amount would be credited back to the city once ownership is transferred to the county.
“One of the big advantages to this is you just simply not having to deal with it anymore and the time, energy and money savings that can be used on other things,” DeGeorge noted.
“There is a savings,” City Administrator Deb Zimmer stated. The amount the city of Spring Valley sets aside for the purchases of new squads will be at least $45,000 annually and this does not include maintenance and repair work, fuel or insurance, according to Zimmer.
The council decided to table the proposal until their June meeting.
•Ambulance Co-Director Sue Puffer shared Tami Edgar has resigned after 21 years of service. Fire Chief Dustin Johnson also noted Mike Lee will be retiring after 30 years of service. The council took a moment to share their thanks to both Edgar and Lee for their time and service.
•The Thatcher Pools and Spas, Inc. estimate of $13,420 for pool repairs was approved.
•Parks and Recs Director John Fenske reminded the council discounted rates for summer activities, including pool passes will end on May 25.
•The next council meeting will be held on June 12 at 6 p.m.
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