Atlantic Mayor seeks public input on TIFS and the Schildberg Quarry Rec Area


June 16th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic Mayor Dave Jones has announced he is accepting the names of people who may be interested in being on a committee that will set the groundwork on how the City determines which businesses and/or individuals would be eligible for Tax Increment Financing incentives. He says he wants to see those individuals hash out what’s worked for the City in the past, and what hasn’t worked. He doesn’t want to take a “cookie cutter” approach, using other cities’ methodology, just a program developed that is good for the City.

The citizens would provide input to the Community Development Committee. The matter of who gets a TIF has been a bone of contention for the council in the past. Most recently, the issue popped-up with the Boulders Inn and Suites project, which received a $166,000 grant and tax rebate incentives package. Some current business owners in Atlantic have complained they weren’t offered or were turned down for a TIF for their recent projects. Every time the issue comes up, the Council says its going to determine some ground rules to provide a more fair assessment of who is eligible, but to date, no such rules are in place.

The Mayor also indicated he wants to gather a group of citizens who will work on plans to develop the City owned portion of the Schildberg Quarry Recreation Area.  He says the City lost grant monies a couple of years ago because a solid plan wasn’t in place to develop and promote the area. Members of the committee would provide their input to the Atlantic Parks and Recreation Board.

Jones also urged property owners to “clean up their properties,” commercial and private, so the City looks good to the throngs of Ragbrai riders who will be coming through town at the end of July. He says John Lund, Assistant to City Administrator Doug Harris, has already send out letters to some residents and/or businesses, warning them to get rid of the junk in yards, and to mow their overgrown lawns.