Archive for Wednesday, January 13, 2010

City OKs homebuyer incentives

January 13, 2010

Tonganoxie might soon have its own stimulus package to help spur new home construction and sales.

On Monday night, the Tonganoxie City Council unanimously voted to have city staff draft an ordinance that would permit the city to rebate building permit fees to buyers of new homes and rebate some property taxes to improvements on older homes.

In Tonganoxie, the cost for a building permit is around $6,000 for a $220,000 home.

Kathy Bard, assistant city administrator, calculated it would take a little more than seven years for the city to recoup the money lost from the permit rebates with property taxes at its current mill levy. But she also mentioned city would still earn around $3,000 in sales tax from the materials cost of the home.

Council President Jason Ward did not like the idea of waiting seven years to recoup the building permit money and suggested the city only rebate about $3,300 in permit fees, which could then be recouped by the sales tax from construction materials.

“That might give us an opportunity to compromise and not put ourselves in a position where the recruitment period is longer than we would like it to be and it would still allow our community to advertise and incentive,” Ward said.

The council decided that only 10 building permits would be allowed in this program in its first year.

City leaders hope that people will take advantage of this program and the federal homebuyer tax credit to buy a new home in Tonganoxie. There also are incentives for older homes.

A home remodel, which would increase the home’s value by a minimum of $5,000, would be eligible for a 95 percent rebate on property taxes on the increased value of the home for the first three years and then a 50 percent rebate each of the next three years after that. If an older home would be torn down and a new home of at least $120,000 in value built in its place, the buyer would be eligible for the same property tax rebate for the difference in home value.

In other business, the council:

• Listened to a complaint from Becky Miller about damaged to her yard caused by the city snowplows. Mike Yanez said street crews try to avoid hitting people’s property, but it is difficult, if not impossible, to avoid. He said crews usually wait until the ground thaws to go back and repair any damage they may have caused. He asked residents to report damage to city hall.

• Unanimously approved a resolution revising the city’s vacation leave policy for employees. With department head approval, city employees may now carryover up to 40 hours of vacation time to be used within 90 days of the new year.

• Unanimously approved payment not to exceed $7,750 to Lowenthal, Webb and Oderman for 2009 auditing services.

• Unanimously approved have BG Consultants, the city’s engineering firm, to inspect five bridges in town: Main Street north of First Street; Pleasant Street south of Fifth Street; Church Street north of Ann Street; 12th Street West of Shawnee Street; the Fourth Street bridge.

• Met in executive session for 10 minutes with Kenny Carpenter, Tonganoxie police chief, and Billy Adcox, Tonganoxie police lieutenant, to discuss non-elected personnel. No action was taken during the executive session, but shortly after the council unanimously accepted Carpenter’s recommendation to hire William Naff to fill a vacancy for a full-time officer. Councilmember Paula Crook, questioned why Naff would be hired at Range 7, step C at $16.63 an hour instead of starting at step A, but Carpenter said his previous experience and training warranted hire pay than a rookie.

•Unanimously approved a 2.5% merit pay increase to employees who scored a satisfactory or better in their annual review. The following employee’s received the increase: Adcox, police lieutenant, $23.50; Kathy Bard, assistant city administrator, $27.25; Dave Bennett, fire chief, $25.31; Carpenter, police chief, $29.35; Dave Duval, police officer, $17.47; Patty Haag, utility billing clerk, $14.34; Sandy Koontz, police clerk, $15.07; Kelly Leonard, utility billing clerk, $13.65; Butch Rodgers, city superintendent, $30.08; John Ruff, police officer to $17.05.

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