The Adel City Council, in their second meeting for the month of August on Tuesday, voted to take a step towards changing the current tax abatement program. After a lengthy discussion, the council voted to start work on altering from the current plan, seven years at 100 percent for new homes, to a new, 3-year, graduated scale that would end in 2020.
This plan would include keeping the current tax abatement program as it stands now for the year 2018, at the advise of their legal counsel, and then starting the 3-year plan in 2019 and in 2020. The 3-year plan would offer an abatement schedule of 75 percent in the first year, 50 percent in the second year, and 25 percent in the third year.
The original motion was for a 7-year plan at a graduating scale, but was amended twice into the plan they settled on by the end of discussion. The plan will now be presented to the city’s legal counsel at Ahlers and Cooney for their review and for them to draft the ordinance, and the public hearing time could be set at the September council meeting.
Despite the legal advice to not change the abatement in 2018, McAvoy suggested that they make the changes right away at the beginning of the next calendar year.
“The attorney gives advice, we make decisions,” McAvoy said.
Councilwoman Shirley McAdon, who led the discussion at the meeting, stated that Adel has created a niche of being the city known for its 7-year tax abatement and said that people she’s had conversations with mentioned that Adel could still be attractive for development with a 7-year tax abatement plan, even if it’s not at 100 percent for the duration.
She also mentioned the importance of staying competitive with the surrounding, growing communities and that they don’t want the growth just to stop.
“We’ve got some big things happening, of course, around us with Waukee and their Kettlestone, and, now we see a bridge that’s going to allow for some development in Madison County,” McAdon said.
Councilman Mike Haynes suggested that they could wait and until after the election and the issue could be brought up by the city council in January and would be voted on by any new members that may be on the council at that time.
“There’s an election in a couple months, there’s dollars tied to changing this, and if we change it and pay the dollars, and the council changes, the new council wants to bring it back up, then we’re going to pay the same dollars again (to craft an amendment to the tax abatement program),” Haynes said. “If that’s the case, if we’re not going to change, and this won’t take effect until 2019, why rush it? Why can’t we wait a couple of months?”
Councilman Bob Ockerman sided with Haynes, saying that they don’t have to take action until after the election, saying that they could put together a proposal with which to move forward with at the January council meeting.
The final vote was unanimous, however, to move forward with the 3-year abatement for two years in 2019 and 2020 and a public hearing could be happening in the coming months.