Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa
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Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

March 2, 2017 Featured - Wellman Advance - Neighbors spar over loose pets
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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ARTICLE DESCRIPTION:

Back in 2014, when the city first developed their capital improvement plan for 2017 through 2021 fiscal years, 41 potential projects were discussed.

15 projects relatively small projects, with the exception of the sanitary sewer project on 11th Street, were carried out last fiscal year.

The city is working through the needs they identified back in 2014 and there are only six capital projects listed for the next fiscal year. The city plans on lining the sewer south of Highway 22 to the plant, purchasing a backup generator for the Parkside Activity Center emergency shelter, replacing culverts along 1st Avenue, and to work on future housing developments.

The latter is the only six figure project on the books for the city for the next fiscal year. The project would be paid for probably through the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) fund. The program allows cities or counties to increase the taxable valuation above the base valuation to use towards public improvement projects within the tax increment area.

The city is also planning to do a pair of cost analyses. There is a $10,000 analysis of potential street improvements as well as starting the process of analyzing expansion for the library, city hall, and the museum.

Pending the results of the street improvement analysis, the most necessary renovations will be undertaken in the following fiscal year.

The city’s funds, as estimated in the plan, appear to be increasing for the most part. The sales tax fund is set to increase from 39,359 to 49,419. The sewer fund, which sat at just $669 June 30, 2016, is projected at $102,938 at June 30, 2018. The water utility fund is set to increase another $40,175 over the 2017-18 fiscal year. The gas fund balance will sit at $30,147, up nearly $9,000, on July 1, 2018.

The TIF fund and equipment funds will also increase.

The funds set to decrease is the road use tax from $119,566 to 97,656 as it will be used to pay for the storm sewer 1st Avenue project. The Riverboat Municipal Grant balance will decrease because it will be used for the generator for the PAC.

The storm water fund is set to remain about the same.

The debt capacity which will be at under 50 percent at the start of the next fiscal year and should decrease to 39.8 percent at the end of the fiscal year.

For the following year, the other big project is the system expansion of the gas utility system at a projected cost of over $500,000. While the report states that the utility “is a great asset to the City of Wellman that most cities in Iowa do not own and operate” and that the utility “provides the city with the flexibility of ‘spreading out’ some of the cities fixed costs,” but there is an issue.

The report also states that the projected balance at the start of the fiscal year July 1 is $21,377. The fund, along with revenue bonds, will be responsible for the eight mile extension on 170th Street.

According to the plan, no definite plans for generating additional revenues are currently in the works, though due to the gas expansion project, a gas rate increase may be needed to pay for the expansion due to the cost and low balance in the fund.

The city also plans to do a study of Highway 22 beautification study.

The final year of the city has projects planned out is the fiscal year 2019-2020 where many of these studies will come to fruition. The city has three major projects scheduled for that year: the expansion of city hall/ library space, the Highway 22 beautification project, and the Ginkgo Avenue bridge project.

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