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The city’s rental inspection program will resume. That was the decision made at Monday night’s City Council proceedings.

The measure was listed under motions on the meeting agenda to consider postponing inspections due to Covid-19. City Administrator Dylan Mulfinger had expressed concern in a memo to Council members and recommended pushing back the start date for rental inspections to March 1, giving time for more vaccinations to take place.

However, the Council does not want to put it off that long and voted to start the inspections back up in two weeks at a rate of one inspection per day. The Council said anyone/tenants with concerns because of the virus should work with the Community Development Department.

Longtime City Street Department employee Dennis Paul was recognized for his 34 years with the city during a special presentation. He was given a city jacket and certificate of recognition. Paul’s last day of work was Jan. 4.

The Council approved a demolition grant request from Joel and Diane Hall for a house at 820 Third Ave. S.W., which is adjacent to their property. Demolition grants are issued for half of the lowest demolition bid with a maximum of $5,000. Low bid for this demolition came from Bryan Construction in the amount of $7,600. The Halls will be reimbursed half of the cost after the project is completed and inspected.

The Council wants to help more downtown business owners with renovations through the city’s downtown improvement program. In the past two years, the program has been successful in helping 10 building owners and providing $125,000 in funding.

Currently, the program has $75,000 in funds available per year available up to $24,000 per project unless the project includes upper level housing improvements, in which case the maximum amount is $50,000. The program is funded through the urban renewal plan for the Central Urban Renewal Area, or downtown tax increment finance (TIF) district.

The city is seeing an increase amount of tax revenue in this district and the Council would like to see the funding for the program increase from $75,000 to $180,000. In order to increase funding, the Council must first change the TIF regulations. Council set a public hearing to be followed with a resolution making the necessary changes at the next meeting on Jan. 25.

Before adjourning, an executive session was held per Iowa Code 25.1(1c) and Code 25.1(1g), regarding litigation and to avoid disclosure of specific law enforcement matters which, if disclosed, would enable law violators to avoid detection.

A work session followed regarding department budget requests from the library, parks, recreation and Wellness Center.


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