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Developer interested in Trailside Estates in Pequot Lakes

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The Pequot Lakes City Council heard about a proposal for a tax-increment financing (TIF) project at Trailside Estates, a housing development off County Road 112 that stalled several years ago and is now bank-owned.

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At the Tuesday, May 6, city council meeting, Brad Person, an attorney for the proposed developer, Eric Johnson of Nisswa, said they are looking to make it economically feasible to develop the property, and are asking the city to consider TIF.

The idea would be to build 25 $150,000 homes for low to moderate income families.

The city has already lost nearly $165,000 on this development through forgiveness of WAC (water availability charge) and SAC (sewer availability charge) fees. The council was concerned about losing future taxes on the development through TIF.

TIF is a public financing method to use future gains in taxes to subsidize current redevelopment, infrastructure or other improvements.

Council members agreed, though, that they were interested in pursuing this development so authorized city staff to work with Johnson.

The city has not authorized any TIF agreement. Person said Johnson wanted to know if the city was interested before going any further with plans. Those plans will be presented at a future meeting.

Council member Scott Pederson was absent.

Public safety

Firefighters worked many hours equipping the new fire truck with new and existing equipment. The pump engine was ready for service April 24. The 2003 Peterbuilt engine has been moved to the Breezy Point station and the 1995 Engine 2 is back at the Pequot Lakes station.

Firefighters had five calls in April, including: assist Cass County sheriff, good intent grass fire, chimney structure fire, structure and vehicle fire, and smoke in the kitchen.

Calls were to Loon Lake Township, Jenkins, Jenkins Township and Pequot Lakes.

In other business May 6, the council:

• Approved the 2013 audit as presented by representatives of CliftonLarsonAllen. The city’s fund balances are strong and the city is stable.

Council members also approved a three-year agreement with CliftonLarsonAllen, at a cost of $18,950 for 2014, $19,450 for 2015, and $19,950 for 2016. The city paid $18,450 per year for the last three years.

Three years ago the city sought proposals from auditing firms and received five different proposals, which ranged from $18,00-$21,800 yearly. CliftonLarsonAllen has an office in Pequot Lakes and an office in Baxter.

• Received an update on the wellhead protection plan.

• Watched an educational video documenting a well sealing, which was a requirement of a Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment Fund grant the city applied for in 2011. That grant helped to defray costs associated with sealing an abandoned well on private property within 400 feet of city wells.

• Hired Sherilynn Fyle as a limited part-time police officer effective May 7 at $17.82 per hour. Police chief Eric Klang had also sought to hire Joshua Ebert as a part-time officer, but the council only hired Fyle. Part-time officers are not eligible for benefits.

• Appointed Melissa Birch to the Library Board through 2016, to succeed Jean Clark, who resigned from the board.

• Amended an ordinance to allow two more members for the Park Commission, allowing up to seven commission members. Anyone interested in joining the commission can contact city hall at 568-5222.

• Reviewed a calendar to prepare the 2015 budget.

Nancy Vogt can be reached at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her at facebook.com/PEJNancy and on Twitter @PEJ_Nancy.

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