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City Council holds planning session at CVTC

City Council holds planning session at CVTC
From left, Charles City Administrator Steve Diers, council member and Mayor Pro Tem Jerry Joerger and City Engineer John Fallis attend a City Council planning session on Wednesday at the Cedar Valley Transportation Center. Press photo by Kelly Terpstra
By Kelly Terpstra, kterpstra@charlescitypress.com

Six hunters could have the opportunity to hunt deer that have caused damage to greens at Wildwood Golf Course starting in November.

Charles City Parks and Recreation Director Tyler Mitchell spoke about the proposed hunt at a City Council planning session on Wednesday that was held at the Cedar Valley Transportation Center.

“I’ve had a lot of interest, but we’ll see how many people follow through once we get it out there,” said Mitchell. The hunt would require a depredation tag from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The aim is to thin the deer population that has caused considerable damage to the greens on the course. Mitchell said Wildwood employees are spending about an hour a day on each hole to fix divots or patch the greens after deer trample them.

“I’ve seen up to five does out there,” said Mitchell.

The bow hunt would start Nov. 1 after the golf course is closed for the season and a lottery system would determine the six hunters who would have access to the course. Hunters would be limited to harvesting one deer each and would have a week to do so.

Mitchell said four weeks in November and two in January would be when the hunts would take place. The hunts must be conducted from an elevated deer stand. All participants must follow Iowa DNR rules, guidelines drawn out by the city of Charles City and pass background checks.

A couple members of the council brought up the possibility of donating the meat from the deer killed at Wildwood to a local food pantry.

Charles City Police Chief Hugh Anderson said that there is such a collaborative effort in the state and it’s called the HUSH (Help Us Stop Hunger) program. Deer meat is donated to local lockers and then given to pantries to help feed those who need it. HUSH is a joint effort among deer hunters, food banks and the Iowa DNR.

Mitchell thought that was a good idea but didn’t know if that would shy away hunters from participating in the bow hunt.

“If it goes to the food pantry, it might be harder to find some hunters that are willing to donate their only deer tag,” said Mitchell.

Also discussed Wednesday evening, the finishing touches are being put on a development agreement between the city and the Charles City Area Development Corp. regarding The Avenue of the Saints Development Park.

“We appreciate the city’s cooperation and willingness to negotiate some of those items. I think it’s fair to everybody, which is as it should be,” said Tim Fox, executive director of the ADC.

The agreement would have Charles City sell general obligation bonds to purchase 75 acres of real estate at a cost of $2.156 million. The bonds would be repaid with tax increment dollars generated from the South Grand Urban Renewal TIF District, where the land is located.

The city would grant the property over to the CCADC to market and hopefully sell the state-certified site to an industry to locate there. Once the property was sold, that money would also be used to repay the city bonds.

Language in the agreement was changed to specify that no permission is needed from the city for the ADC to sell the property unless the sale price per acre went below $30,000. The city’s purchase price equates to $28,500 per acre.

Key points in the agreement that were adjusted are the city states the site must have state certification by Nov. 1, 2019, and the ADC will use the city grant money to acquire the property by March 1, 2020. The site certification deadline can be extended as mutually agreed upon by both parties.

“We’re glad that we’ve made it this far intact,” said Fox. “Now we’re ready to implement it.”

Also at the Wednesday workshop meeting:

• Termination of a contract with the Simply Essentials poultry plant, the city and the Iowa Economic Development Authority that awards tax incentives was discussed.

After Simply Essentials closed last month the company is defaulting on a state High Quality Jobs program. The city portion of the agreement is a 7-year, 87 percent tax exemption which amounted to almost $42,000 over that time frame. The total incentive package from the state, including the city’s share, was $1.8 million in tax credits, rebates and on-the-job training benefits.

Fox said he was not aware that Simply Essentials made any claims into the program.

• A secondary water pump at the wastewater treatment plant will have to be replaced. Wastewater Superintendent Dan Rimrod said the redundant pump – one of four – could be rebuilt for a cost of approximately $23,000.

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