City council returns, talks money

Revenue and expenditures were the topic of much discussion at the city council’s first meeting of the year.

At its Committee of the Whole meeting Monday night, the council discussed bonding as well as several grant opportunities to spur economic development in the city.

Maggie Burger, with Speer Financial, laid out the 2013 bond issuance for the city. While the street projects are already said and done, adding another $600,000 for a fire truck for the Marshalltown Fire Department will require setting a public hearing for Jan. 28.

Burger said Speer Financial gave the council two options for the debt schedule on the $5.6 million in bonds: eight years or nine years. The extra year would slap the city with an additional $150,000 in interest, but would afford it more flexibility in planning projects.

Since the council has been considering the feasibility of new buildings for the police and fire departments, Randy Wetmore, city administrator, said the nine-year schedule would likely be better. Members on the council seemed to agree.

“This gives us a little more room to start acting a little quicker,” he said. “We need to leave a little in there for the police and fire departments.”

On the flip side of the same coin, Tom Deimerly, Marshall Economic Development Impact Committee (MEDIC) president, introduced two projects that would both cost and make the city money.

A new call center would bring 50 jobs to the area, but the city would have to pony up $90,000 to help install a backup generator in its building. However, the jobs would pay $14.50 an hour, and the company would likely expand during the course of the service agreement, Deimerly said.

The company – Calelrius out of Des Moines – MEDIC and Heart of Iowa Communications have each put up $5,000 to help install the generator and the 25 work stations to get tech help center, up and running.

“A lot of opportunity exists for the company,” Deimerly said. “They are dealing with some high technology.”

TIG Distributing is also asking the city to consider a Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy (RISE) grant, which provides money for local development projects.

Joe Tharpe, accounting manager at TIG Distributing, said moving to the industrial park would help his company greatly. Because of rapid expansion, the company is renting space throughout Marshalltown to accommodate its business.

“We are bursting at the seams,” he said.

Deimerly said the grant would cover $280,000 of the $631,000 required to increase accessibility to the park. The property tax revenue would more than offset the difference in the cost over a standard tax increment finance period of 10 years.

Also on the agenda for the council’s consideration was a package of grants needing city approval. This year, several city grants will be lumped into one package for approval, including applications for the lead hazard control project, funding for the Marshalltown Police Department’s summer student academy and Parks and Recreation’s movies in the park series.

In a special meeting following the Committee of the Whole, the council approved the bill list in the amount of $958,054.56.