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home : news : news Monday, August 21, 2017

1/12/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
DeWitt reviews enforcement of snowfall ordinance

By Mary Rueter
Managing editor

Snow removal was the major topic of discussion at the Monday, Jan. 7, meeting of the DeWitt City Council.

The subject was brought up by city administrator Steve Lindner, who said a resident had requested the council revisit the more stringent enforcement of parking regulations during snow storms.

Late last year, the council agreed to facilitate better snow removal by requiring residents to move their vehicles off the streets during a snowfall event of any accumulation.

During the late December snowfalls, city workers "stickered" offending vehicles, warning their owners to move them or risk being ticketed for non-compliance. Two days later 15-20 vehicles still had not been moved and subsequently were ticketed and fined $10.

Lindner said the city has tried to work with several families to find places to park off the street. In older parts of town, some residential lots do not have garages or driveways for off-street parking although that is a requirement for construction of new homes.

Despite the unhappiness expressed by a handful of residents, Lindner said overall there were very few complaints, and generally, most vehicles were moved, which made the strict enforcement effective for its intended objective

TIF rebate discussion

The council also discussed but took no action on a request from developer Tom Tiefenthaler to consider amending the city's existing TIF (tax increment financing) rebate agreements.

The city's current rebate agreements with Tiefenthaler and Hafner Brothers Construction provide 50 percent annual rebates up to a maximum of 15 percent of the developer's total investment.

Recently the council approved an agreement with DN Investment that creates a greater incentive to construct new homes on smaller lots with prices of $210,000 or less.

That agreement rebates 100 percent on homes that meet the target price and 50 percent on homes that exceed it with the total maximum payout for the life of the agreement not to exceed the developer's investment in the project.

It was noted the DN agreement intentionally was more aggressive in order to spur the development of a market of lower cost new housing than currently exists.

The council can amend the existing agreements, but a public hearing would be required in order to change the total amount of the potential rebate.

Other business

In other business Monday, the council:

•Approved a native wine permit for Dot's Hallmark and a liquor license renewal for La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant.

•Approved reimbursing $10 to city employees who participate in the Live Healthy Iowa program, "Get Fit, Dewitt," sponsored by the city's parks and recreation department.

•Approved the expenditure of $400 or less to provide a small thank you gesture to the volunteers who put up and take down the winter decorations in downtown DeWitt. The funds will come from the DeWitt Downtown Improvement District, but was not budgeted. Lindner noted it is important to keep those volunteers "who come out on Sunday mornings in usually not-so-nice weather" to help beautify the city.

•Set Monday, Feb. 4, as the date for a public hearing on the proposed amendment of the current city budget - one of two routine annual amendments.

•Accepted what may be the final "tweaks" on the city's proposed golf cart/UTV/ATV ordinance. The recent additions include requiring drivers to be 18 or older; operators have proof of insurance on the vehicle; the minimum limit for liability insurance is set at $300,000; and a review of the ordinance be made annually.

•Approved the report of the strategic planning and goal setting meeting for 2013.

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