Jamestown  (CSi)   The Jamestown City Council met in Special Session Thursday, following the committee meeting at City Hall. All members were present.

The Council considered  a Resolution adopting rates for the Stormwater Utility Fee for the City of Jamestown, as discussed and recommended at committee, in the amended Resolution.

The City Council approved a permit to install and operate a pop-up demonstration consisting of a temporary multi-use path and walk/bike event, from the area near Jamestown High School to Jamestown Reservoir, which will be conducted September 6 and 7, 2019.

Jamestown Parks and Recreation, is the agency, and Central Valley Health District is partners in the project.  This is the First Phase of the project to gauge community interest. The Finance and Legal  Committee recommends approval and authorize the signing.

The Council approved the Resolution, with Council Member Buchanan voting in opposition.

A public hearing was held, concerning the request from EPIC Companies to form a tax increment finance district for five years, for the upper four floors of student housing at the  proposed six floor mixed-use facility on the University of Jamestown campus.

From the audience, Susan Roemmick of Jamestown said, she is graduate of the University of Jamestown.  She was concerned about the abatement issue in light of city budget issues, and the Jamestown Public School District to put to a vote in a mill levy increase for facility improvements.

She pointed out the structure is being built on campus at the former outdoor swimming pool which the community needs.

It was stated that EPIC will make money on the project on the backs of Jamestown taxpayers.

University of Jamestown President, Polly Peterson said  75 percent of students reside on campus.  This academic year 40 students needed to be found off campus housing, as the University grows.  She said UJ is an investor in this project, and looks to eventually purchase the structure back, within five years, and asked that the TIF be implemented.

An EPIC spokesman said the commercial retailers on the main floor will pay taxes.

He said EPIC is taking a financial risk in the $12-million project.  He said the building is being constructed east of the former swimming pool.

Preliminary estimates from Epic have placed the cost of the project at $12 million.

Based on that figure a preliminary estimate of the valuation could be set at $2 million per floor, paying property taxes of about $33,000 per year based on current  mill rates.

The commercial area on the main floor would remain taxable because it is outside the educational operation of the university, the main floor commercial area would have a value of about $2 million.

Construction cannot begin on UJ Place until the tax exemption request is decided, although site preparation work has begun.

Following the Public Hearing…

Council Member Buchanan said he is opposed to the TIF, not being fair to property owners that pay taxes, while the city doesn’t receive the property tax dollars for five years while the TIF is in force.  He pointed out the city sales tax being increased, and the school district’s request for a 10 mill increase, plus special assessments concerning other projects, plus the city’s budget crunch, and possible property tax increases, by the city.

Council Member Phillips is in favor of the issue, saying the project is a win for UJ, and the Jamestown Community.

Council Member Brubakken favors stipulation that the apartments be only rented to UJ students.

The City Council voted to approve the TIF  agreement as indicated, and amended to include the stipulation that the residential floors only be rented to UJ students.

Council Member Buchanan voted in opposition.

The City Council then approved authorizing the City of Jamestown to make preliminary application for Economic Development Funds for a national Guard facility, to be located at the Jamestown Regional Airport’s Industrial Park.  Mayor Heinrich said this in the application process only at this time.

The meeting was shown live on CSi Cable 67, followed by replays.