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Council expresses intent to fill vacancy by appointment

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HJ - Standard Clarinda City Hall New

As new Mayor Craig Hill presided over his first meeting of the Clarinda City Council Jan. 12, the council discussed options for filling his vacancy.

Hill was appointed to the city council in 2018 to fill the seat vacated by Lisa Hull when she was elected mayor. Hill was then re-elected to the council in 2019 and had two years remaining on that term when he was elected mayor in November.

Clarinda City Manager Gary McClarnon said the council may either fill the vacancy through an appointment or by calling for a special election. However, McClarnon said the special election would cost the city approximately $3,000.

“If you appoint someone, the general public does have the right, then, to petition for a special election,” McClarnon said.

McClarnon said two letters of interest were received from residents expressing their desire to serve on the city council. However, one of those letters was since rescinded.

“I really was hoping to spark more letters by mentioning it at the last meeting. But, like I said, I only received one,” McClarnon said.

Although the members of the council supported filling the vacancy by appointment, Councilor Jeff McCall suggested delaying that action until Feb. 9 to give citizens ample opportunity to submit their letters of interest. The motion by McCall to fill the vacancy by appointment on Feb. 9 was approved unanimously.

Earlier in the meeting, the council held a public hearing on the proposed designation of the 2022 Clarinda Commercial Urban Renewal Area. The new urban renewal area would be located on South 16th Street where the Scooter’s Coffee drive-through coffee chain is constructing a new building.

During the hearing McClarnon said he had received no oral or written comments opposing the designation of the urban renewal area. Therefore, the public hearing was closed and the council passed a resolution to establish the urban renewal area as well as the Urban Renewal Plan and Project for the area.

“Basically, all this resolution says is that you guys are approving the location for a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Area for Scooter’s,” McClarnon said. “What it is is just the parcel that Scooter’s is sitting on.”

Next, the council approved an ordinance authorizing the Page County auditor to collect tax on the TIF Area where Scooter’s Coffee will be located. The council also set Jan. 26 as the date of a public hearing on the development agreement that has been proposed between the city and C & J Enterprises, LLC, which owners Scooter’s Coffee.

Under the development agreement, the city of Clarinda will rebate half of the taxes on the business to C & J Enterprises over a 10-year period. The total rebate is not to exceed $150,000. The council will consider approval of the agreement following the public hearing.

In other business, the council approved a pay request for $238,369.82 from Building Crafts, Inc., for Clarinda Wastewater Treatment Facility improvements.

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