City council approves revitalization rebate program

Staff reporter

Hillsboro City Council approved an ordinance at the April 15 meeting that starts a new city neighborhood revitalization program which refunds a portion of property taxes paid for improvements.

The council held a public hearing during the regular meeting to hear public comment. None was heard.

A review was made of the plan which included a map of the eligible properties, a list of the property owners, and property values within the district.

The primary purpose of the plan is to encourage restoration and improvement of residential and commercial properties.

Here's how the rebate program works.

A residential property owner must invest a minimum of $5,000 in improvements to the property; commercial property owners must invest a minimum of $15,000.

Improvements or new constructions then are reviewed and the property is assessed by the county appraiser's office during its annual review of properties or when construction is completed. If the improvements cause the value of the property to increase, the property owner then will receive a 95 percent property tax rebate for the next 10 years after the taxes are paid in full each year. The rebate is only for the difference in taxes between the original value of the property and the property with the improvements.

The current neighborhood revitalization program will expire May 2009.

In other business:

— A chip seal plan for city streets for $33,000 was approved by the council. Improvements include Adams Street from A and B streets, A from Eisenhower to Jefferson, Hillsboro Elementary School circle drive, Jefferson from Grand to A, Main from D to F, F from Ash to Washington, C from Adams to Kennedy, Kennedy and Wilson from A to C, and Wilson from C to D.

Mayor Delores Dalke made it clear to city administrator Larry Paine that the street projects must be completed during the summer. In previous years, street improvements were being made during the annual Arts and Crafts Fair in September. Paine said he would target completion by the end of July.

— PEC (Professional Engineering Consultants) of Wichita recently inspected the roof of the former AMPI building which is now owned by the city and was in the process of compiling a cost estimate. Councilman Bob Watson asked if there were any other structural issues other than the roof. Paine said the roof was the only part of the building inspected by the firm at this time because that was what the council had instructed Paine to do.

Dalke said there needed to specifications determined so accurate repair bids could be obtained. She commented that the building was constructed in sections with separate roofs and fire walls. The building could be dismantled in sections since that was how it was built.

— A request was granted for the Hillsboro Junior Trojan baseball team to sell concessions this weekend at the pavilion at Hillsboro Sports Complex.

An agreement that recently was approved by the council allowed the Hillsboro Lions Club to assign concessions to other groups, with approval from the council. The Junior Trojans will pay the city 12 percent of the gross sales per the agreement which requires a 10 percent pay-off to the city for all events except tournaments when an additional two percent is collected.

— The council approved payments of $42,431 to engineers EBH and Associates and a payment of $131,650 to APAC-Kansas, Inc. for the city's sewer construction project.

— A variance to the city's noise ordinance was granted to Tabor College. The college was planning an outdoor concert and wanted to have the event past 10 p.m. which was the city's curfew for noise. The variance allowed the concert to be extended to 11 p.m.

— Incumbent councilmen Byron McCarty and Shelby Dirks were sworn in at the beginning of the meeting. The two were re-elected April 1. The council re-elected Dirks as council president to preside at council meetings when the mayor is absent.

The council then recessed from the regular meeting and opened the Public Building Commission meeting of which the councilmen are members. Watson was elected chairman of the building commission.

— Dalke proclaimed Friday as Arbor Day in Hillsboro.

The next regular council meeting is at 4 p.m. May 6 in the city building.