Lansing City Council approves FY2025 contract with PeopleService, and reschedules first public hearing on Lansing Urban Revitalization Plan/Tax Abatement Ordinance for Feb. 19

by Julie Berg-Raymond

Prior to the regular meeting of the Lansing City Council Tuesday, January 2 - delayed a day due to the New Year’s holiday falling on the council’s regular Monday meeting day, Michael Verdon was sworn in as Lansing’s new mayor, and Corey Richards was sworn in as a new Lansing City Council member following their elections to those positions this past November.

The council approved the City’s contract with PeopleService for Fiscal Year 2025 with a 4.1% increase.

Andrew Boddicker told the council its unanimous approval December 18 to adopt Resolution No. 999 - tentatively approving the Lansing Urban Revitalization Area and the Proposed Plan/Tax Abatement Ordinance - was not a valid vote, because letters that were to be sent to all property owners in the Urban Revitalization Plan District 30 days prior to the public hearing were not sent.

Boddicker told the council that a new timeline for public meetings would therefore need to be scheduled. He noted, further, that Mayor Verdon had expressed a desire to revisit the abatement levels - “which, if changed, would have required us to start over anyway,” he said.

Boddicker’s proposed timeline included the following: a discussion of the blighted and historic subdistrict boundaries - which the council initiated during the January 2 meeting; a discussion January 15 of abatement levels and, if needed, changes made to those levels and sent to Lansing’s bond counsel (Whitney & Dorsey) for edits; letters regarding the plan and the public meeting sent to property owners in the Urban Revitalization Plan District no later than January 19; notice of public hearing published in The Standard newspaper the week of February 5; date for first Public Hearing slated for February 19.

The council approved setting the first public hearing on the Lansing Urban Revitalization Area and the Proposed Plan/Tax Abatement Ordinance for Monday, February 19 at 7 p.m.

The Lansing City Council approved a contract with Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission (UERPC) for its assistance in writing a grant proposal for a Community Development Block Grant (CDBD) through the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). Any funding secured through this grant would be used for the City’s Platt Street Project, which involves the replacement/upgrade of existing water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer utilities along Platt Street, North Street and 4th Street.

UERPC Economic Development Department Head Diana Johnson told the council that UERPC recommends the City apply for 45% of the project’s estimated costs, expected to be around $1.5 million.

Ian Zahren shared with the council the write-up for an Allamakee County Community Foundation (ACCF) grant application for $20,000 to use on the Lansing Sports Court Enhancement Project. The project involves repaving and repainting of the City’s two basketball and tennis courts; conversion of one tennis court into two pickleball courts - including new nets; and purchase and installation of four new basketball hoops. The City of Lansing has allocated $16,200 for this project.

The cost of the project is $36,200, which includes a 10 percent project contingency - “an amount of funds added to the base cost estimate to cover estimate uncertainty and risk exposure,” according to the Project Management Institute. Pending an opportunity for council members to review the application write-up, a vote will be held to approve the application, which is due February 26.

Council member Benjamin Ghelf told the council that the Lansing Fire Department’s city truck was out of service again, pending repairs. The next regular meeting of the Lansing City Council is scheduled for Monday, January 15, at 7 p.m., in Lansing City Hall.