BOONE, Iowa—The Boone City Council held a special meeting in early December to take time an prioritize goals for the next fiscal year. Goal setting has been a regular part of the city’s budget process for a number of years. City Administrator Bill Skare did update the Council on their goals for the current fiscal year and provided an update on progress for reaching those goals.
On the KWBG News and Public Affairs Program “Tuned In” last week, Boone Mayor John Slight talked about the goals. He said some are ongoing goals, some can be completed in the next fiscal year and some will take more than a year to complete. Slight said one of his priorities, and the Council agreed, to continue demolition of nuisance properties. He said the action will provide lots for additional residential development.
The Council also established incentives for residential development as a priority. This is a continuation of programs already available, including using Low to Moderate Tax Increment Finance funds to buy down the price to meet an established affordable housing price of under $175,000. The current program calls for a $5,000 incentive to keep the price below $175,000. The residential development on the former Bryant School site used the program extensively. Abbott Homes, the developer on the Lowell School property used the incentive for at least the first home but then decided to forgo that incentive for higher priced homes that actually sold at a faster pace. Another residential incentive is a tax abatement program that has been available for several years.
The Council did approve spending some resources for a brochure to provide more detailed information on investment and development in the community. Slight said the Council felt there wasn’t enough marketing on the current benefits available in Boone.
A priority from the Council’s Utility Committee is a concern about water quality and the ability to meet some of those demands. A recent Water Source Study reviewed the current issues facing the city’s Water Works, specifically considering nitrates in the water supply. The goal is to prioritize the issues and prepare a plan to handle changes that may occur in the city’s water source. Slight said on “Tuned In” last week that a mechanical process to remove nitrates is not in consideration because of the cost related to construction and operation.
A couple of ongoing goals included infrastructure maintenance, particularly sanitary sewer lines and valves on water mains. The Council also listed as a goal the continued funding for the city’s Downtown Incentive Fund, a fund used to provide a reimbursement to the property owner that spends money on their buildings, specifically facade work. The Council’s Economic Development Committee currently handles the program, and according to Slight, still has about $25,000 available for additional projects. The reimbursement is calculated on 40% of the project cost with a maximum reimbursement limited to $30,000. Initially plans to fund the Downtown Incentive Effort were based on the increased local option sales tax revenue generated when Wal~Mart opened their new store on the south side of Boone.
Even though the Council considers it’s priorities, the bottom line will be the ability to maintain those priorities through the budget process in early January.