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Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015

Monett opts out of county Enhanced Enterprise Zone

Monday, January 4, 2010

(Photo)
Snow and freezing rain on Sunday morning sent Monett Street Department crews out to clear major thoroughfares and well-traveled residential streets as a priority. The snowplow above pushed a layer of snow and ice off Seventh Street over the noon hour yesterday as people were leaving nearby St. Lawrence Catholic Church. [Times Photo by Murray Bishoff]
The Monett City Council signed a multi-year contract supporting the city trash collection effort and decided against participating in an Enhanced Enterprise Zone in Barry County during the council's December regular monthly meeting.

Waste Corporation of America has purchased the trash transfer station in Verona, where the city takes material collected from residents. The new owner told customers to expect fees to increase by 3 percent annually.

As an option, Waste Corporation offered the city a seven-year contract that would cap annual increases at 2 percent.

Sanitation Superintendent Russ Balmas endorsed the plan, noting Verona remains the closest place for the city to take its trash. Council members agreed and awarded the contract. City Administrator Dennis Pyle said the contract could be cancelled by either party with a 90-day notice.

Enterprise zone action

Pyle reported Barry County and the city of Cassville had held an informational meeting on establishing a county-wide Enhanced Enterprise Zone to attract business. A business could qualify for abatement of real estate taxes for at least 10 years by making a $100,000 investment and creating at least two new jobs.

Pyle said the city had problems with participating in such a program. Tax abatement does not work where tax increment financing (TIF) is already in place. A TIF program sells bonds to make improvements, committing future tax income to pay for the bonds. Subtracting future income violates the bond agreements, so the city could not offer future tax abatements.

In addition, Pyle reported the Monett R-1 Board of Education was opposed to participating. Tax abatements would impact the school district's local income.

Thirdly, Pyle said the county commission would have final authority over the enterprisezone. Commissioners would be advised by a representative panel composed of one representative from area schools, one from another taxing entity and five appointed by the county. It was possible for Monett to have no representative on such a panel.

Pyle concluded it was better for the city not to participate in the county program. The city could establish its own Enhanced Enterprise Zone at a later date if interested.

Mayor Jim Orr recalled the city had committed certain sections of the city to the South Lawrence County Enhanced Enterprise Zone so that Pierce City could be linked to the program. Pyle said keeping Monett out of a Barry County enterprise zone would not keep any other community from participating.

Council members authorized Pyle to write a letter declining involvement in a Barry County enterprise zone. The census blocks, on which land is identified for such zones, would include those around the municipal airport as well as inside the contiguous city limits.

All cities participating in enterprise zones must pass a resolution committing to the program. Pyle said Monett could not be forced into a county enterprise zone.

Furnace ordinance passed

Final passage was given to an ordinance restricting the location of wood burning furnaces to the rear of buildings. Orr said the city had no guidelines for the location of such devices without the new law.

However, the mayor said the new ordinance would grandfather the use of pre-existing wood burning furnaces.

Department reports

Orr asked the department heads present to update the council on current activities.

The sanitation department has finished making loose leaf collections, Balmas said. Bagged leaves were still being picked up.

Fire Chief Tom Jones reported on a Dec. 19 structure fire on Fifth Street and the industrial fire on Kings Prairie where city firemen assisted the Monett Rural department.

Building Inspector George Rausch said Miracle Recreation Equipment had prepared its south plant for steel work. The new addition would house jobs transferring from Farmington.

Rausch's office had been contacted about new construction on a church as well as on plans for the Monett Area YMCA and Monett Elementary School projects.

Orr said a number of pilots had made favorable comments about runway maintenance at the airport. The city was beginning a new promotional campaign targeting a nationwide market about aviation fuel prices in Monett, he added.

Financial action

Council members agreed to pay bills totaling $1,713,858.71. The largest payment was $912,768 to Empire District Electric for wholesale electricity, including a fuel surcharge payment of $165,996.

Additional major bills included: $279,000 to Wells Fargo as an installment on building the Justice Center and its equipment; $62,955.55 to Allied Roofing on the street department barn and the mechanic/museum building; $44,000 to One Beacon for liability insurance for the first quarter of 2010; and $16,000 to Reavis Water Well for work on well #17.



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