1. Created a housing incentive program

The commission looked a recently completed housing study that showed which demographics are expected to grow in population in the next few years and what types of housing may be needed over the next few years.

“I think the housing study provides a good backdrop,” said commissioner Barth Hague. “I am in favor of anything that can get things jumpstarted. … I think the most important things we can do in this community is improve or schools and improve housing. … I urge us to work at doing some prioritizing.”

The commission also reviewed incentive programs for home builders. Under that program, the city would commit up to $10,000 per unit, with a maximum of $100,000 annually, to assist with interest payments on construction loans for spec homes within the city limits.

“This is an attempt to eliminate a hurdle to home construction,” said Bob Myers, city manager. “... The goals is to produce a house that goes on the tax roles where we can gain some of that money.”

Commissioners asked during a work session where funds will come from for this.

“Our property and casualty insurance carrier has given us a $50,000 incentive,” Myers said. “That normally would go to the general fund. I had those funds set aside, and they can be used for this. .., where the rest comes from, there are options. We are in the middle of the budget. … Can we make it available, yes.”

Myers pointed out the city would not expend any funds for at least six months.  The incentive would be available on homes of all price ranges.

“I think there are things that we need to grow. The rehabilitation and sale of existing housing stock, we have tremendous assets there. Some people need help bringing it up to standard,” said commissioner Barth Hague said. “... we can't just do this and check it off the box.”

The commission voted 3-2 to create the program. Leroy Koehn, Barth Hague and Rod Kreie voted in favor. Commissioner Glen Davis and Kathy Valentine voted against.

Increased dumpster fees
The commission approved an increase in fees for small dumpster rentals. The city owns seven of the 10 cubit foot dumpsters for use by residents.

In 2018 the city received $14,150 in fees, while paying $6,189 in landfill fees.

The commission voted to double the delivery fee for the dumpsters from $25 to $50, and a 50 percent increase of a dumping fee — from $50 to $75 with charges assessed for transfer station fees.  

The commission also made a change to the program to allow for landlords to have access to the dumpsters.  

Approved airport leases
Approved a lease agreement with Avcon Industries, the largest tenant at the Newton City/County Airport. The lease agreement allows for extensions over the course of the next 25 years, and contains regular increases to the rent paid by Avcon.