A commercial development east of I-135 and south of First Street inched forward this week, as the city commission approved moving forward with engineering agreements for infrastructure within the development.


“You will get to see a new addition come together from the ground up, with the ground being the paperwork,” said Suzanne Loomis, director of public works for the city. “This is the first step in the process of building the infrastructure for this addition.”


The city approved a plat for the development earlier this month.


This week the city approved moving forward with engineering services for several projects. The initial estimates for those projects included $116,000 for sanitary sewer, $187,000 for water system improvements and $340,000 for paving improvements for the development which is zoned as commercial.


In each case the city will assess a special assessment to the property within the addition. The developer, as the sole owner, will be responsible for those special assessments until they have sold the property.


“He is responsible until if and when they are sold” said Leroy Koehn, commissioner. Prior to voting, he asked pointed questions to make sure that was clear.


The commission did not approve an agreement for construction grading services — that request contained initial estimates of $244,000. The development will require not only a detention pond for drainage, but a portion of the property will have to be raised out of a flood plain.


The cost of the improvements, the engineering and the work, will be born by the benefit district.


“The water, sewer and streets are a no-brainer. We would typically recommend that to you,” Loomis said. “We don't normally have something that is grading of the district.”


The city legal department requested the commission table the grading agreement to allow for consultation with bond counsel. If finalized, there would be a need for bonds issued to finance much of the development project.


The special assessment taxes can not be levied for more than 20 years.


In other business the commission:

• Met for a work session to discuss city priorities and goals.

• Recognized Newton High School AP teachers for being named to the AP District Honor Roll for the third time.

• Recognized Connie Neal of Slate Creek Elementary for being named a Horizon Award Winner.

• Recognized a city of Newton street crew for work done on East Fourth, a brick street.

• Received a year-end historic preservation report.

• Approved a permit for Blues, Brews and Barbecue to be at Athletic Park Oct. 6.

• Approved a special use permit for a parking area at 410 Victoria Road.

• Approved a lease agreement with Harvey County for the Harvey County Fairgrounds.

• Approved an engineering agreement for the painting of two water towers.

• Received a capital improvement plan from the Newton City/County Airport.

• Approved changes to the snow route map, adding a portion of Oliver by the Newton City/County Airport.