Alderman approve smoke testing, TIF plan

By NIKKI SMITH,

The City of Petal Board of Aldermen voted to approve a request accepting a proposal for smoke-testing from Shows, Dearman and Waits. The test will cost the city $42,350.

“We have a lot of issues in the annexed area where (the utility company) used to be years ago,” said Mayor Hal Marx. “We feel like this would be a step in trying to find the places we have a lot of infiltration in groundwater that’s overloaded our system, causing problems we have in lift stations and pumps.”

Marx said he thinks the investment will save the city money in the future. However, this does not include the cost of fixing the problems that are found.

“This is not the fix and I don’t want to hide that,” said city engineer John Weeks. “In my opinion, this is a great place to start.”

“It will be a real good pilot for what the city should consider in the future,” Weeks said. “My recommendation would certainly be that the city take an aggressive look at the city sewer system.”

The board voted to approve a request to adopt a resolution approving the Tax Increment Financing Plan.

The TIF Plan is a request on the part of developers of the York/Petal Project, for Petal to participate in issuance by the city Tax Increment Limited Obligation Bonds, which are not to exceed $3,000,000.

Marx said the benefit of TIF is that the city will not have to pay out any of the money that has already been budgeted.

“The good thing about using a TIF to finance large projects that will benefit the city, is that the city does not have to spend any money it is already budgeting,” Marx said. “The money comes from taxes that would be generated by the project, but have not yet been received.”

Marx said the city has not relied on those funds in the past, so there is no adjustment needed in the budget.

“The projected property taxes from the project will be used to pay for the infrastructure, but the city will receive immediate benefit from the increased sales taxes that will be generated from more residents living in the city and spending their money locally,” he said.

Once the TIF is paid off, the city will also receive the ad valorem taxes from the assessed value of the project.

This is to provide funds necessary to facilitate various improvements in connection with a single-phase multi-family residential project with a proposed location within the city. Public bonds will be secured by a pledge of a portion of the ad valorem tax revenue generated by the project. 

The bonds may also be used to pay issuance costs, engineering fees, attorney’s fees, TIF Plan preparation fees, capitalized interest and other related soft costs.

The board also approved a request to change the rank structure in the Fire Department. Fire Chief Joe Hendry said the request is to change lieutenants to captains and engineers to lieutenants. The other change was to eliminate one of the ranks on the lower end. Hendry said the Fire Department had a probationary period, but he requested to remove that to simply the process.

In other action, the board:

• Approved the minutes for the regular meeting of June 20;

• Approved a request to accept the resignation of Dakota Brown in the Recreation Department effective June 30;

• Approved a request to remove a Harley Davidson Motorcycle from inventory in the Police Department;

• Approved a request to accept the Senior Citizen Meal Agreement for 2017-18 school year at a cost of $1.75 per plate;

• Approved a request to adjust water services billed to 1312 Carterville Rd due to a leak;

• Approved the docket of claims for June 2017;

• Approved a request for Timothy Burkhalter and Brent Chennault to attend Tank Rail Car Specialist in Pueblo Aug 14-18 at a total cost of $560;

• Approved a request to adopt order hiring James Wheat full time in the Water Department at a rate of $10.50 per hour effective June 29;

• Approved a request to adopt an order hiring Nikita Bowman full time in the Recreation Dept at a rate of $9.50 per hour effective July 10;

• Approved a request to adopt an order transferring David Clark from part time to full time in the Recreation Department at a rate of $9.50 per hour effective July 5.