City commission approves use of TIF funds for extending gas main
Using an estimated $11,678.25 in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds to extend the natural gas main in the South Development was approved by the Concordia city commission during its regular meeting on Wednesday.
In December 2018, the city commission approved the sale of Lot 3, Block A, College Drive Park in the South Development for the development of a Dollar Tree store.
The property was prepared for development as part of the Skyline III Project using TIF funds.
As part of the project, the area was leveled and utilities were extended to prepare for future development.
The lots were advertised as “all utilities ready to the site.”
In information provided to the city commissioners by city manager Amy Lange, it was stated that as the development plans for Dollar Tree progressed, the city realized that the natural gas main must be extended to serve the development.
“Because all utilities were advertised to the site, the developer did not include a clause that they normally do in the contract, which is that the landowner would provide those utilities to the site ahead of them purchasing the land. They were under the impression it was already there,” Lange said, “So we are trying to find a way to fix that.”
The natural gas main is currently located on the southwest side of College Drive. It ends at the Broadway Street right-of-way and turns south to serve Walmart.
It was determined that the best plan to extend the natural gas to developable Lots 3 and 5 is to cross College Drive, then tee and extend the main in both directions.
Based on the estimated natural gas consumption of Dollar Tree, a cash investment of $11,678.25 must be made up front to extend the main.
According to information provided by Lange, a portion of the cost is recoverable at a rate of $6,1597 per MCF over seven years, which equates to $7,545.62 based on the estimated consumption of 175 MCF per year. That would result in a net investment of an estimated $4,132.62.
It was proposed by city staff to pay the cash investment of $11,678.25 for extending the gas main through the use of TIF funds. The city would then recover the refund over the next seven years.
Upon consultation with the city's bond counsel, Kevin Cowan of Gilmore & Bell, it was confirmed that the city is legally able to include the extension of the natural gas main as part of the Skyline III Project that was authorized by the city commission via Resolution 2011-1909.
The money refunded to the city over the seven year period would go back into the TIF fund.
The commission approved authorizing Lange to enter into a contract with Kansas Gas Service to extend the natural gas main across College Drive and toward Lot 3 to serve development Lots 3 and 5 using TIF funds, estimated at a cost of $11,678.25, understanding a portion of this expenditure will be recovered in seven years.
In other action taken during the meeting, the commission approved reappointing James Reynolds and Luke Hood to the Board of Zone Appeals.
The commission proclaimed May as Motorcycle Awareness Month and May 24 as Poppy Day.
The commission set 2020 budget meetings for July 15 at 3 p.m., July 17 following the conclusion of the regular meeting and July 23 at 3 p.m.
Public concerns that were raised about placement of the new permanent telescoping flag poles at Pleasant Hill Cemetery were discussed during the meeting.
Some were concerned that the flag poles were being placed in front of some grave markers.
Lange said that those concerns had been addressed to the satisfaction of those who had raised them.
Commissioner Chuck Lambertz encouraged citizens who have concerns to talk to the commission.
“I honestly don't know what we can do as a governing body, what we can do as office staff, what we can do as a community to be more welcoming to that feedback, to be welcoming to those questions,” Lambertz said, “I think once we became aware that this was an issue, the city did what it could. I think there might be lessons that are learned from this, but I would really invite folks out in Concordia, if you are upset about something or worried about something, please come and talk to us. Whether that be in public comments, which no one was here to make any comments, to come and approach a commissioner, which I wasn't approached about this before reading it on Facebook. I don't know if staff members were aware of this before it just blew up. I think we have a very responsive group trying to work in this community. I think we take issues and complaints seriously. I don't think that folks are dismissed. We may not always go or address a concern the way they want us to, but I think they are always heard earnestly and honestly.”
Following the regular meeting, the commission conducted a study session on general public transportation.
That study session followed up on a previous study session April 17 regarding the General Public Transportation Service provided by the Concordia Senior Center during which the commission considered limited data provided and asked questions of Karal Closser, director of transportation and bookkeeper for the Senior Center.
The Senior Center is asking the commission to consider funding the $20,000 annual match required to operate General Public Transportation in its current form.
More detailed information about the General Public Transportation was provided to the commission on Wednesday.
Over the past four years, General Public Transportation ridership has increased by about 5,707 riders. The places of destination are predominately the same, just the number of riders has changed. That number is estimated at 18,708 in 2019.
Cloud County Health Center and Cloud County Community College have agreed to provide $4,000 each in 2020 to support General Public Transportation.
The commissioners agreed that General Public Transportation is a valuable service for the community.
The commission requested that Closser continue to seek out donations from organizations benefitting the most from the transportation service.
It was recommended that Closser incorporate the remainder of the funds needed in the Senior Center budget request that will be considered this summer.
Concerns were raised about the sustainability of the service.