Developers’ Request for “Fairness” Lives On

A proposal to give Burlington developers who build houses outside the central city, expanded property tax abatements…like their downtown counterparts…is still alive, following last(Tues) night’s City Council work session.

The Council agreed by consensus to 10 years…the breaks given to those who re-development within a 110-square-block area, including downtown and South Hill……and those who put up mainly-new homes in the outlying areas would like a similar advantage. The Greater Burlington Partnership is behind the idea and a survey it did says there’s a real need for new, affordable single-family housing in the area.  Councilman Tim Scott…who has favored the concept all along…proposed having someone from the Partnership come back before the Council and make a presentation about how the expanded tax break would help the city.

If last(Tues) night’s Council work session is an indication, Burlington City Manager Jim Ferneau will be getting a 5% raise and $50 more per month in his fuel allowance.

In other business, the Council signed a 3-year lease agreement with the Steamboat Senior Center at 501 Jefferson…and agreements with American Legion Post-52 and the Hamilton-Walters Marine Corpos League Detachment-616…for continued use of Memorial Auditorium. And speaking of the auditorium, the main elevator is back in service as of late last week.

The Burlington City Council heard from its Alternative Energy Committee last(Tues) night and later talked about one of the group’s money-saving ideas — replacing more of the downtown traffic lights with stop signs. The advisory body is recommending that the signals on Main Street, at Washington, Valley and Angular…at Central & Valley…and at selected intersections on Jefferson…be removed…..and Downtown Partners Executive Director Steve Frevert says the local business owners are all for it, but no action was taken last(Tues) night. On another front, Planning & Parks Director Eric Tysland introduced new City Planner and recent University of Iowa graduate Charley Nichols.