INGALLS — Ingalls town leaders advanced economic development efforts and discussed a key employee benefit — health insurance — during year-end meetings in December.
Among Ingalls plans to help foster commerce in town are the creation of a redevelopment commission and tax increment financing (TIF) district.
A TIF district takes property taxes from new developments in a defined geographic area and uses that money to improve infrastructure in that area.
Council members signed a contract to hire lawyer Adam Steuerwald, at a cost of $4,500, to create a redevelopment commission to get the TIF project rolling.
Town leaders have discussed creating a TIF district for years, and with current growth in the area, it’s time to move forward with the plan, town officials said.
Goals include attracting business investment and creating jobs.
Once the redevelopment board is established, the group will work with the council to determine the boundaries of the TIF district.
Town leaders said the plan is to use TIF revenue to fund projects such as sidewalks, storm sewer improvements or bike lanes, to make the town more attractive and increase property values.
“There are so many things we can do around town that would make this a fantastic area, that we just don’t have the money for,” town council president Tim Green said.
The town established its redevelopment commission during its Dec. 18 meeting.
The commission will have five members with the ability to vote on issues and one non-voting member. Three of the members will be appointed by the president of the town council and two by the council. The council president also will appoint one non-voting member from a local school board.
The members, who are expected to be appointed in January, will be asked to serve for a year. They will not be paid for their work but may be reimbursed for personal funds spent related to the commission.
In other business, town officials selected a new health and dental insurance plan for the six town employees who receive insurance through the town.
The plan is with United Health Care insurance, the town’s current health care insurer.
Cost for the plan in 2018 is estimated at $42,090 for health coupled with $3,638 for dental, for a total of $45,728.
The plan includes some changes for employees, such as a $5 bump in co-pays, while the total cost to the town is a few hundred dollars lower.
The 2018 plan calls for the town to pay the majority of the premium per employee estimated at $590 per month; employees will pay $6 per month, the same amount they pay now.
Town manager Tim Millikan wrapped up 2017 working on the town’s street sign replacement project.
The project includes replacing all posts as well as signs. Millikan anticipates the project costing a little more than $20,000. He expects to know the final cost in January, and work will start on the project as soon as possible.
Town workers have equipped a town truck with a bucket lift so they will not have to outsource the project.
The new signs will meet all federal reflective requirements, Millikan said. Town officials picked green for the new sign colors.
Town officials also approved $2,239 for striping work of Prairie Hollow subdivision. The project includes about 1,900 feet of striping, which will be done by Otto’s Parking Marking Co.
The council also approved spending $700 to $1,000 for a new computer to replace one that stopped working at the fire department.