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City council briefs: Preliminary tax levy and budget

Wallin 18th and 17th Additions

The council unanimously voted to table the the approval of the preliminary and final plat of the Wallin 18th Addition.

Roughly 20 residents and homeowners of the Wyndham Hills neighborhood, a previous Wallin project, showed up pleading to the council to not pass the final plat of the Wallin 18th Addition.

Curtis Gerrits, a homeowner in Wyndham Hills, lead a petition with 44 signatures asking that the plat be denied.

A main concern expressed by Gerrits and many other residents were in regards to what the new villa homes proposed in the plans would do to the value of their homes, which were built under strict regulations of architectural elements and other aspects of the home.

Many were unhappy with the notification process of the Addition as well, stating that they only learned about the development in recent weeks from few neighbors who were sent formal notifications from the developer.

The nearly 9.6-acre plot of land is located northeast of the intersection of General Sieben and River Shore drives, and is owned by the Duane Wallin and Winston Wallin Partnership.

The subdivision will hold 14 villa homes located on Brandelwood Court, and would be taken care of by a homeowners association. Fieldstone Family Homes would be the housing developer for the villas.

When the plans were brought to the council on Aug. 6, the subdivision was proposed to have 22 lots, eight of which would have fronted General Sieben Drive. After concerns about the number of accesses to the street, the eight properties were removed from the plans.

The decision to table the vote was made in order for council members to get data on whether or not there would actually be damages to the value of existing homes in the neighborhood.

In relation to the 18th Addition, the council also voted to table the approval of the vacation of easement in the Wallin 17th Addition, which is contingent on the 18th.

With the plans of the new 18th Addition, the utility easement that was originally established in preparation for larger lot single-family housing development would no longer be necessary.

A vote on both the Wallin 18th and 17th additions will take place at the next city council meeting on Monday, Sept. 17.

Variance in side-yard setback

The council voted to grant a variance in side-yard setback for a residence in the 400 block of West Fifth Street.

The applicant is looking to increase the size of the garage from roughly 370 square feet to 1,000 square feet. The existing garage is 2-feet-8-inches away from the property line. City Code requires a minimum building setback of 5 feet.

LeDuc contract amendments

The council unanimously approved amendments to the LeDuc Operating Agreements with the Dakota County Historical Society.

The amendments request that the DCHS and the city meet on an annual basis prior to the general tour season.

The amendments also require that that DCHS prepare a marketing strategy to be presented to the city annually and provide the city with quarterly activity reports, suggested site improvements and maintenance and an annual operating budget.

Additionally, the city will have to coordinate any events with DCHS prior to scheduling at the LeDuc, as well as create a capital budget together.

Another amendment holds that the DCHS agrees to promote DCHS Board openings within Hastings and also work with the city to do so.

Preliminary 2019 city property tax levy and budget

City Council voted to approve the preliminary 2019 city property tax levy and budget.

The new proposed tax rate for 2019 is roughly 59 percent, a decrease of nearly 1.5 percentage points from this past year. One of the goals of City Council has been to bring the tax rates down.

For all values of homes, tax impact will decrease. Although it is uncertain, based on the preliminary levy commercial tax impacts are expected to decrease as well.

Projects that the city is looking at for next year are pool improvements, new equipment for the fire department, computer and IT updates, website upgrades, economic development initiatives, and more.

A separate preliminary tax levy was voted on and passed for the Hastings Economic Development and Redevelopment Authority, known as HEDRA.

The estimated levy for 2019 is roughly $360,000, which will go toward economic development initiatives. There will be additional general funds to support such initiatives as well.

Financial consultant contract

The council voted to approve the contract for financial advisory service to Northland Securities. The approval of this contract brings the city and HEDRA, which previously had two separate financial advisors, under one firm. The contract will last three years, with the ability of an additional three year extension.

It is expected that in the long run it will save the city a small amount of money.