The Spring Valley City Council held a public hearing and regular council meeting on February 8. Members present included Luan Ruesink, Chris Danielson, Greg Brooks, and Mayor Tony Archer. John Dols was absent. Also attending was City Clerk/Administrator Deb Zimmer.
Immediately prior to the regular council meeting, a public hearing was held regarding the proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan for District 1-15 (Kappers Fabricating 2021 Expansion Project). A TIF is a public financing method that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure and other community improvement projects. It works by refunding or diverting a portion of their taxes. Mike Bubany (representing the public finance advising firm of David Drown Associates, Inc.) gave an informational talk on the basics of TIFs, including the reasons why TIFs can be beneficial for cities and for businesses. He explained several safeguards that protect cities from liability and from other potential problems. He also outlined the basics of this specific proposed TIF.
The plan is for Kappers to build an expansion of approximately 30,000 to 35,000 square feet in size, with work to commence by June 1, 2021, and be substantially completed by December 31, 2021. A second expansion (warehouse) of similar size may be included by December 31, 2025. The project is expected to result in five new full-time equivalent jobs with a starting wage of at least $15.25 per hour.
Bubany stated that Kappers is a stable and longstanding business in the area, so he is confident they intend to actually do the project as proposed. When asked about any possible risks to the city, he replied, “So, if the value isn’t there, if it burns to the ground and they don’t rebuild it, if they don’t pay their taxes, if the state changes property tax law and changes the formula so we don’t collect as much as we thought, we are not on the hook to make up the difference. So, there’s no financial risk to the city.”
No members of the general public voiced questions or concerns during the public hearing. During the regular council meeting, the council unanimously approved TIF District 1-15 as submitted.
Axel Gumble, on behalf of LeRoy City Lines, addressed the council to describe the plans to offer commuter service to and from Rochester on weekdays, beginning March 1. He explained that the route will begin in the LeRoy/Chester/Spring Valley area, picking up riders in Spring Valley around 6:30 a.m. at Sunshine Foods, and returning to Spring Valley around 6 p.m. Riders will be able to purchase individual passes, 10-ride passes, or monthly passes.
Gumble explained that LeRoy City Lines formerly had weekday trips to and from Rochester, but as the pandemic raged, demand decreased. But they are ready to again offer at least one route per weekday, and possibility more. He said LeRoy City Lines is currently welcoming applications from anyone interested in becoming a driver for these trips. Gumble also stated that although the cost may not be a savings (when compared to driving oneself to and from Rochester), the advantage is that riders can relax, nap, read a book, and not worry about driving or parking. Anyone interested in more information, or to purchase tickets, can visit their website or call (612) 701-0381.
Another topic of discussion was the Spring Valley 100 (100-mile bicycle race). Paul Vogel and Allen Matson addressed the council about their plans to again hold the event this summer, on Saturday, June 5. Vogel said the event, which was previously known as the Almanzo 100, has brought in riders from near and far, but he envisions making it more appealing for participants and spectators to stay and enjoy dining and entertainment options while they are in the city. The details of the event, and publicity efforts (website, Facebook, etc) are still being developed.
The council discussed a request to dismiss an ambulance bill. After discussion, it was stated that the only complaint about the situation was the timing of how quickly an ambulance arrived. According to Zimmer’s report, the targeted response time was slightly exceeded. Sue Puffer stated, “We put full PPEs on, and I was at the scene a minute and a half before the ambulance arrived.” The council voted to not dismiss the bill.
In closing the meeting, Mayor Archer made a plea to the public, saying, “If anybody has any dogs and cats, put them in the house. They’re running all over town, because they get lost or they break a chain, because it’s colder.” The next regular meeting of the council will be Monday, March 8, 6 p.m., at city hall. The public is welcome.