By Teri Knight, News Director
Last night, the Northfield City Council approved Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the 5th Street Lofts development at 5th and Washington Streets. Nick Anhut with Ehlers and Associates explained TIF “as the value of a property is increased from that development, there’s an ability to separately capture that increased value and allocate the taxes generated from it towards a financing to assist in bringing about that redevelopment or overcoming some other barriers.” The current taxes, or base value taxes, are not captured nor are the school referendum dollars. Within this district will be the two municipal parking lots.
Anhut explained that this could allow further parking infrastructure or redevelopment adding, “Doing so right now allows it to qualify under the parameters as a redevelopment TIF district where it might not be able to do so at a later date.” No taxes are currently collected as it’s city-owned and none will be, unless it was developed later. Councilor David DeLong adamantly opposed the addition of those parking lots as part of the TIF. Anhut assured the council that, if development were proposed, it would have to go through the same process including council approval. He added that all it does is offer potential. The motion passed 6 to 1. Mayor pro tempore Brad Ness said, “I really appreciate all the work that’s been put into this project with Mr. Stencil and Mr. Koester and Mr. Reese. We appreciate you spending your money in Northfield. I’m all in favor of this.” The $13.6 million 79-unit apartment complex is set to begin construction this year with completion in 2021. Rebound/Stencil LLC will receive $1.6 million over the 25-year course of the TIF. City Administrator Ben Martig added this morning that additional protections were put into this TIF including “look backs” at two points, after construction and at the 15-year mark. Martig said, “On both of those cases, if there’s bigger returns than the maximum we set, the city will actually benefit. The district could be shortened or end early.” There are currently seven TIF districts in Northfield which captures 2.67% of the gross tax base. Ness and Martig were in studio this morning; that interview is online. Additional information can be found here: City Council Supplemental Agenda Background Memo for October 1 2019 no. 1 (1)
Nfld Charter members want to give hospital board control
As Northfield is a Charter City, this commission is supposed to be autonomous with members applying to the chair and then forwarded to a District Judge for appointment. The rest of the city’s boards and commissions are being selected and appointed by the Mayor. All must fill out an application. One board that some Charter members have concern regarding autonomy is the hospital board. A few members, including David Ludescher, want the hospital board to be able to operate free of local government interference as they are a $100 million business and unlike any of the other boards and commissions. He and Charter member James Schlicting proposed an amendment to the Charter last Thursday, saying “…and what we’re proposing is that the hospital actually present the candidates to the city council and then the city council approve them or not approve them.” Northfield City Administrator Ben Martig suggested in a memo to the commission: “…that they not work on it as the city and hospital are cooperatively reviewing this along with a number of other governance issues. The idea is that they would come back with recommendations by the end of the year.” The resolution was tabled until their next Charter meeting in November. This is the DRAFT of the proposed change from Schlicting and Ludescher: Proposed Charter change Hospital Board members are allowed up to three terms of three years each. Two particular candidates whose terms were up, yet planned on staying but were not reappointed by the Mayor, are Charlie Kyte and Virginia Kaczmarek. Instead Mayor Rhonda Pownell chose new members, Carleton College vice president Fred Rogers and city council member Jessica Peterson White. Clashes between the Charter and city government have been going on for at least the last seven years. One particular item is what power the Charter has, if any. Here is the agenda with the full memo from Martig: Agenda and Martig memo for Sept Charter Comm Mtg DOC091719
Water main flushing!
Water mains in Northfield will be flushed between 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. starting on Sunday, Oct. 6 through Thursday, Oct. 10. Water mains are routinely flushed to remove minerals and to check the operational integrity of the fire hydrants. Residents are advised to limit water use during the flushing period and check for discoloration before using water for laundry purposes. In case your laundry should get discolored, keep the laundered items wet and pick up a special soap for stain removal at City Hall Finance Department.