City to consider Community Improvement District

The Fairview City Council met at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3. Present for the meeting were Mayor Art Vonderschmidt, Council members Doug Bletscher, Sierra Renner, Kim Rettele, Bridget Harvey, Steve Holthaus and Charlie Kramer, City Treasurer Kim Rettele, Secretary Christine Rosenberger, Community Center Manager Joann Keim, City Code Enforcement Officer Ashley Martinez, and City Employee George Blanton. There were also 18 guests present at the meeting.

Community Improvement District

Mark Emert of Lawrence — formerly of Sabetha — was present to discuss — on behalf of Keim TS — a Community Improvement District (CID) Program for the City of Fairview to consider.

“This [the CID program] is relatively new. It’s a little over a decade old, but it is a process where we ask the city to approve a certain portion, within the city limits and create this district for development,” Emert said. “So, what I talked to Stan, Bud and Sam [Keim] about was the possibility whether or not we could ask the city of Fairview to help out and fray some of the cost through the community improvement district.

I think that this particular project that the Keim’s are putting together is taylor-made for the Community Improvement District program. It is not a special assessment. It is a sales tax driven revenue stream, and it applies only to a certain district that we would propose and the city could improve.”

Vonderschmidt asked what businesses would comprise the district.

“It can be as much or as little as the neighbors agree upon,” Emert said. “CID provides two different forms for that. There is one that everybody can agree on and then, that kind of determines what the finances look like, or there is one where the city can approve based upon the land owner — based upon the land owner who owns more than 55 percent of that — and then, that also has some kind of different financing structures, special assessments, bonds and things like that. That is not something that the Keim’s are interested in right now. It would be more sales tax driven as far as the revenue goes, but because of that we would probably make sure that those who wanted in the district are in the district, and those who don’t would stay out of that.”

Vonderschmidt asked if businesses are required to be in the district.

Emert said it could be “one or the other.”

“The car dealership is there and I know there is a medical provider there,” Emert said. “If they are not interested in being a part of this, then it would be something my clients [Keim] would want to talk about, but they would be more likely to just push through with the 100 percent owned by Keim.”

Vonderschmidt asked if this sales tax needed a public vote.

Emert said that depends on the financing structure of the petition and they are wanting to just do a sales tax, instead of bonds and special assessments. According to Emert, the Keims would submit a petition — or a proposal — to the City of Fairview with all of the details. 

“It is up to the city to decide if they like that, and it’s up to you [the city council] to accept that petition,” Emert said. “If there is a petition that is granted, then yes there is a public notice that’s given and there is an opportunity to object to it. But the discretion and whether or not to accept the petition is with the city.”

Vonderschmidt asked if this sales tax would be on top of any sales tax already in place, and Emert said yes. However, the sales tax would only be applied within that CID. Emert also said the CID statute limits the tax percentage to two percent, and most CIDs are in the 1 to 1.5 percent range.

Emert said there is a “sunset” on the sales tax, which is either 22 years or when the allowed expenses are “fully redeemed.”

Vonderschmidt asked if the city would get a portion of the sales tax collected.

Emert said, yes, the city will collect money from the sales tax for administrative costs, which could be up to five percent.

“While the city does get to keep their five percent of this, all of the rest of the money has to stay right there [in the Fairview CID],” Emert said. “It’s not like that money gets reimbursed to Keim and then they go and take it into Sabetha or anywhere like that. It stays right here in the Fairview project.”

Emert said they hope to get the petition to the Fairview City Council for them to review as soon as possible, so the CID sales tax — if approved by the City of Fairview — can be implemented by the time the project is up and running.

After further discussion, the council unanimously approved reviewing Keim’s petition — or proposal — to start a CID in Fairview. The council discussed if the petition was ready prior to their next regular meeting, the possibility of holding a special meeting dedicated to this topic. As of Monday, Nov. 7, a special meeting has not been set.

Condemned Properties Public Hearing

Martinez started by reminding those present about the two properties involved in the public hearing.

“The two properties the council decided to condemn was Kirk and Donna Watson, and then Dan Tally and Kim Schuetz,” Martinez said. “They were given 60-day extensions to show some improvements to the properties, and the council is to decide whether we are to move forward with demolition or if we are going to give them another extension to continue to improve those properties, but still leave them in condemned status as of now.”

Martinez said that the Watson property — located at 212 Maple Street —  has had “a lot” of improvements done, but they are still working on it.

K. Watson said he has started painting, and has replaced the siding on the front of the house, as well as the door. He said he still needs to replace the windows and continue painting.

After discussion, the council voted — with all in favor — of allowing him another 30 days to continue to improve the property. The council will revisit this topic at the Thursday, Dec. 1, meeting.

Martinez said the owner of 216 Main — K. Schuetz — had “done quite a bit.”

According to Tally — who also lives at 216 Main — the porch has been ripped off, and now it is boarded up, ready for a new window, and the roof is done and fixed. Tally also said that the rotten siding had been replaced. However, Tally expressed concerns about being able do some of the other projects due to the current temperatures outside being below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

After a lengthy discussion about what still needed to be addressed at the house, the council decided to give Schuetz another 30 days to address more of the issues.

New Business

Vonderschmidt said the “Merry Christmas” sign has been put up at the Fairview sign, as well as the lights at the community building.

J. Keim said the church has bought the property at 113 Maple. She said they are trying to get on Ron Rettele’s schedule for demolition.

Rettele said they were building a back porch on their house and needed to get the building permit approved. The council approved the building permit at 513 W. Maple. 

Rettele said the Wolfe Grant is now open for applications. She said her and Rosenberger had discussed applying to place three picnic tables adjacent to the playground and a fabric awning over the picnic tables. After discussion, the council approved applying for the Wolfe Grant for this purpose.

Reynolds asked about the city limit signs.

Reynolds also asked about building permits and then about burning the Rogers property again. Vonderschmidt said the burning probably wouldn’t take place until spring until the fire department can do their controlled burns. Reynolds asked if the council had done anything publicly about reminding citizens to vote on the sales tax on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Also at the meeting:

Linda Lierz presented a building permit to construct a privacy fence at 111 S Walnut. After discussion, the council approved Lierz to construct a fence that does not extend more than four feet from the northwest corner of the house.

James McCulloch asked the council about the nuisance summons he received. Vonderschmidt said the nuisance summons he was referring to had been sent to a trial, and the council would not be hearing anything pertaining to that topic at the public meeting.

“To follow procedure, the court date is set for November 15th and then we can hear it,” Vonderschmidt said.

“We need copies of those summons because we only have three of them,” James McCulloch said. “When we were here, you said there were four of them and we do not have a fourth one.”

“It’s the one from July, but I will make a copy and mail it to you,” Martinez said.

Jessica McCulloch addressed the council encouraging those who watch her livestream video and those present at the meeting to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

“I just want to encourage the people that do watch this video and the people that are here, to talk to your neighbors, find out what is going on in the community. Find out what the people with children around here are dealing with and let your vote reflect that.”

Vonderschmidt said he received a thank you note from the Charles Rogers family for the flowers that were sent to the funeral.

Martinez said she received a $50 fine payment from Penny Hartley.

J. Keim said she received a donation to the Fairview Community Center from the Charles Rogers family.

The council approved the minutes from the Oct. 6 meeting with two minor changes.

The council reviewed and approved the treasurer’s report.

The council reviewed and approved the bills to pay with the addition of a bill for Martin Mishler for $220.

The next regular Fairview City Council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1.

Heather Stewart126 Posts

Heather Stewart is one of two co-editors for The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2015. Heather is a 2011 Kansas State University graduate with a degree in psychology. She lives in Sabetha with her husband.

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