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Wells OKs TIF District for project

By Staff | Oct 4, 2020

The Wells City Council took care of several big ticket items at their meeting last Monday night, including setting up a Tax Increment Financing District for a new project in the Wells Business Park.

The project is a new Bruss-Heitner Funeral Home facility which would be built on two lots in the business park. It is being planned by funeral home owners Nathan and Susan Nasinec.

The council heard from Jessica Green, of Northland Securities, concerning the creation of the TIF District.

She said the building will be 14,300 square feet in size and will be about a $3 million project in all.

According to the county assessor, the building is expected to have a $1.3 million estimated tax valuation, which can change later, Green said. That would generate an estimated $50,000 a year in property tax, a number which also can change over the life of the district, which is nine years.

This TIF District is not tied to job creation or wage goals as some are, Green pointed out, but just to an increase in the tax value base in the city.

City council person Crystal Dulas questioned the amount of the tax generated.

“It seems overly high, compared to other businesses,” Dulas says. “Some large business buildings are far less.”

Green said they were using numbers supplied by the assessor’s office.

“This is a different construction type than say, Ron’s Electric,” Green said. “It has finished walls and rooms.”

In the end the council approved two resolutions, one was to approve the TIF District plan for Nasinec Funeral Home, and the other was to approve a Development Agreement with Nasinec Funeral Home.

“This is a really good development for Wells,” city administrator CJ Holl said before the vote. “This (TIF District) is a common economic development tool and I see it being used more in the future.”

In other business at the meeting, the council:

Approved a resolution for the start of the plans for next year’s North Broadway Street Improvements project.

Being added into the project is Third Street SW, located in the City Center housing development area. This is necessary because of a sale of a lot in the development area.

Council person Brenda Weber questioned authorizing the project without knowing costs, but city engineer Travis Winter said this just kicks off the project and there will be opportunities to pull something out of the project.

“This will be done the same way our other projects are done,” Winter said. “There will be a feasibility study, public hearing, plans and specs drawn up, and a call for bids.”

Administrator Holl pointed out that the city has a bond payment expiring in 2023, which would be about the time the bond for this project would start, causing no change in the city’s finances.

Approved the hiring of Jennifer Lindholm as the new deputy clerk/finance specialist, to replace Jennie Kloos. Lindholm has been an employee of the city for 24 years and has a four-year degree in accounting. Her salary will be $22.28 per hour.

There were 15 applications and five persons were interviewed.

The council also approved promoting office specialist Sam Seipp from part time to full time with a pay of $14.45 per hour.

Council person Dulas voted no on the motion, stating she wished to see a completed new employee job description before the vote.

The council also voted to continue the temporary $2 per hour increase in wage for Tifanie Schrader through the end of the year. The increase was due to Schrader’s extra workload during the transition of employees.

Voted to allocate $21,815 in CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act funds to the Wells Community Ambulance Service for the purchase of handheld radios, Toughbook tablets and germicidal fluorescent lights.