Bronwyn’s Council Preview, June 13, 2017: Old Middle School Housing Proposal

Also on the agenda: A resolution reconfirming support for the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement on the Paris Accord, tax incentives for the Barilla pasta plant

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The Ames Area Metropolitan Planning Organization transportation policy committee meeting starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday, to be followed by the meeting of the Ames City Council. The agenda includes:

Item 39: Ames Economic Development Commission: Presentation of annual report and resolution approving 2017-18 agreement

Each year, the city gives $157,500 to the AEDC, including $60,000 to the business development coordinator, $90,000 for marketing, and $7,500 for an annual software package. The marketing dollars go toward a few purposes: business recruitment (showing sites, coordinating incentive applications, responding to inquiries from potential companies); marketing materials (website, brochures, etc.); and aggressively marketing toward industries such as ag-biotech or advanced manufacturing. In addition to the marketing facet, the city jointly funds a business development and marketing position, whose job description is basically listed in the contract. The AEDC had a 2012-16 plan, with five objectives, all now completed. (Check out the AEDC Report Card, if you’re interested in reading more.)

Item 40: Progress report from sustainability coordinator regarding FY 2016-17 activities

Since 2010, the city has utilized Iowa State University’s director of sustainability to assist in city sustainability efforts. Initially, this contract focused on reducing electricity consumption, but it now includes five tasks, including waste reduction, EcoSmart and Smart Business Challenge programs, and representing the city at events relating to sustainability. (The city uses 25 percent of this employee’s time, while the other 75 percent is spent working for Iowa State.)

Item 41: Resolution reconfirming May 5 resolution approving US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement

Given the recent national turmoil regarding the decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord, the mayor is asking we reaffirm the attached 2007 resolution. It has four directives: endorse US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, set a baseline for carbon emission of city functions, set carbon emission goals, and develop a plan to reach these goals.

Item 42: Staff report on request for proposal for 321 State Ave. (affordable housing)

The city put out an RFP for the Old Middle School lot (321 State Ave.) in March of this year. The only proposal received was from JCorp Inc, represented by Duane Jensen. JCorp is proposing all single family owner-occupied homes, 29 LMI (low- to moderate-income) rate, and 19 market rate. The LMI homes would sell for $135,000 to $155,000, and are located to the north of Tripp Street. In the RFP, the city proposed giving the land to the developer for free, and giving an additional $400,000 to 500,000 towards infrastructure improvements. The proposal from the developer is asking for over $900,000 toward infrastructure improvements. The staff report lays out four alternatives, ranging from increasing incentives to rethinking the project.

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Item 43: Urban renewal area for Barilla
At our Feb. 28 meeting, the council approved a $3 million tax increment financing incentive for a planned expansion at Barilla. This urban renewal plan is the first step in several toward moving that incentive forward.

Item 46: Hearing on major site development plan for 398 S. 500th Ave.

City staff and the developer of The Collegiate development are still working to finalize details of this project, and are asking that the hearing be continued until June 27.

Item 47: Hearing on proposed 2017-18 Community Development Block Grant Annual Action Plan (continued from May 9)

This hearing is being extended again, this time until June 27.


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Bronwyn Beatty-Hansen is an at-large member of the Ames City Council. She is also a manager at Wheatsfield Cooperative and the co-owner of Cycles Recycling.