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Friday, May 6, 2016

Monett Council pursues unpaid TIF money

Friday, July 24, 2009

At its July regular meeting, the Monett City Council approved an engagement letter to hire legal counsel for litigation over unpaid reimbursement for the city's tax increment financing program (TIF).

Council members agreed to hire Springfield attorney Carl Yates to pursue payments mandated by state law into the city's TIF program. As Yates explained to the TIF Commission, sales taxes authorized after the creation of a TIF district are not exempt from paying half of revenues over the established base into the TIF. Revenues made possible by improvements made in the TIF district are obligated for paying off the TIF debt.

The city is seeking to collect TIF compensation from Lawrence County for the half-cent sales tax paying for the new Judicial Center and from the quarter-cent sales tax paying for the 911 system in Barry County.

City Administrator Dennis Pyle said both the Lawrence County Commission and the Barry County Emergency Services Board have received demand letters from Yates asking for payment. Both have responded, asking for legal documents.

Yates estimated $4,000 to $5,000 should cover his services for the current phase of work, Pyle said.

Department reports

Describing current work underway by city officials, Public Works Superintendent Russ Balmas said street crews were busy laying chip and seal on city streets.

Council members said visitors attending the July 4th celebration and tournaments at the North Park ball fields commented that facilities were in excellent condition.

Fire Chief Tom Jones said hydrants have been painted throughout town. Firemen were presently focusing on equipment maintenance. Municipal Court Clerk Mechelle Tharp said court continues to be busier this year than last. She also reported that the problem with the lighting system in the Justice Center courtroom may have been found. Light shields have been installed. Fixes are being tried but no definitive resolution has been reached yet.

Police Chief Tim Schweder said School Resource Officer Jarrod Jarvis is participating in gang resistance education and training (GREAT). Jarvis would offer classroom sessions for fifth and sixth grade students in the coming school year. Dispatching Supervisor Bonnie Witt-Schulte said 911 calls were up, a predictable indicator of summer.

Utilities Superintendent Pete Rauch said tree trimmers in the electric department have been busy around town.

Rauch said pipe was being ordered for routing water from the wells at North Park and the Jack Henry and Associates property to the northwest corner of town where plans call for the construction of a treatment plant for muddy well water. Design work was continuing on running a water main from the city limits to the airport.

Building Inspector George Rausch reported his office has issued $7.4 million in construction permits so far in 2009. Work has started on construction of the 11th new home in town this year.

Bills paid

Council members authorized payment of $1,531,740.69 in bills for the month. The largest was $1,090,503.83 to Empire District Electric for wholesale electricity. The Empire bill included $116,282 for fuel surcharge costs, less than half the charge for the previous month.

Other major bills included $44,290.11 to Vaughn Hauling for moving rock for street chip-and-seal work. Water Products was paid $43,817.16 for water main pipe. Other major payments include: $15,738.05 to MFA Oil for chip-and-seal work on streets; $11,287 to Arkansas Electric for radio-read water meters; $10,108 to Cooper Power Supply for reclosers for the electric department; and $8,530.95 to Kay Concrete, mostly for Greenways Trail construction.

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