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Marion approves tax breaks for duplexes

Staff writer

Mayor Mary Olson and council member Jerry Deiter were knotted in several seconds of silence on Tuesday.

Both were waiting to see how the other would respond to the ordinance allowing the industrial revenue bond to Homestead Affordable Housing. Council member Chris Meierhoff was absent and Todd Heitschmidt abstained because Central National Bank has two bonds with the Homestead project.

They both knew Jerry Kline would vote against the ordinance, as he did in a previous vote on April 15.

“I don’t believe its 100 percent a good deal for the public,” he said. “I hope I’m wrong. I do what I think is right. I have quite a few people that agree with me.”

The ordinance was about to die from lack of action when Homestead Director Tom Bishop and City Administrator Doug Kjellin made the same point.

“If you don’t approve this, we’re not going to have any development to tax,” Kjellin said.

Deiter made the motion for the ordinance. After she asked for more discussion, Olson seconded it. They both voted to approve it.

Neither voter was really that conflicted on the project. Olson asked Bishop if all the money from the bond would be spent on this particular project. He again said that all the money would be spent to refurbish the apartments at September 1 and 2 and build duplexes west of the football field.

“The legal descriptions were pretty vague,” Olson said.

She also was waiting to find out if any members of the public were going to voice opinions about the project. Olson said she recently visited a completed Homestead development in Mulvane with Lucas King and the Marion High School construction class. She was impressed by that development.

The industrial revenue bond provides property and sales tax abatements for the project. It was estimated that the city would lose $751,494 in abated taxes. The city also will lose the current property taxes, about $8,300.

Deiter defended the abatement saying that Hilltop and Sunrise apartments both have rent controls, applicable with government funding.

“Folks around here that would like to be in some of these might have too much income,” he said.

He also said the city provides tax abatements for businesses, but would not specify which ones.

“Hillsboro has a lot,” Deiter said. “Look at Midway.”

Bishop added that tax exemptions might include an additional 15 years with federal housing tax credits.

Main Street

The city council approved a bid of $222,709 from Kansas Paving for the Main Street paving project, from Locust of 1st streets.

The Kansas Department of Transportation will pay about 75 percent of the cost, $167,032, while the city will be responsible for about $55,677. The project includes asphalt overlay. City Administrator Doug Kjellin said the city would pay for striping separately.

Not included in the bid but included in the plans concrete work and parking striping in front of Marion Post Office. Kjellin and engineer Darin Neufeld said it would be best to bid out this portion after Kansas Paving starts working on Main Street. Kansas Paving’s bid on the post office work is $15,135.

Airport

Airport Board president Dick McLinden told the council that Ag Services and Cooperative Grain and Supply were estimated to pay the city about $3,500 after using the airport for crop dusting.

He asked the council if the airport could use this money to build a 10-yard concrete slab in an existing hangar. Kjellin told him that money would have to budgeted and would not be available until 2014.

About $1,500 were obtained from crop dusting last year, which went into the airport budget. About $1,000 of that was used to repair runway lights. Kjellin suspected much of the rest of that funding will be used for mowing expenses this year.

McLinden said he was interested in applying for a KDOT grant to extend the airport runway.

Last modified May 30, 2013

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