County delays decision on revitalization plan

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Jeff Bauer, Iola code enforcement officer, handed an updated copy of Iola’s Neighborhood Revitalization Plan to Allen County commissioners Tuesday. The plan encourages residential and business upgrades and development through property tax incentives. Any improvements worth $5,000 or more qualify an owner for a 95 percent tax rebate for six years — the county retains 5 percent for administration — followed by declining rebates of 60, 40, 30 and 20 percent the next four years.
USD 257, Iola and Allen County Community College have signed on to the plan, which covers June 1, 2009 to May 30, 2012.
A previous three-year plan expired May 30; it embraced a smaller area of Iola. Three properties outside the designated zone that were given exemptions by Iola commissioners drew criticism from county commissioners. The new plan includes a paragraph that outlines how such waivers may be made. The new plan also covers a much larger area of Iola, mainly all but new sections in north Iola.
County commissioners asked County Counselor Alan Weber to review the plan before they decided on participation.

COMMISSIONERS approved a plan to enhance the county Web site. Initial cost will be $4,015 and yearly maintenance and support will be $975. When all the new features are in place, residents will be able to access information such as property taxes that otherwise require a visit to the courthouse or a telephone call.
They were asked by Bill Fiscus, representing Tri-Valley Development Services, to consider a $58,000 contribution, the same as this year’s. Fiscus said TVDS, with a $5.36 million annual budget, faced federal and state aid cuts. He noted Tri-Valley served 673 people in Allen, Bourbon, Neosho and Woodson counties, many of them Allen Countians. Allen County has supported Tri-Valley since 1986.
Commissioners approved use of the courthouse grounds and bandstand for a Hope Unlimited fund raiser in conjunction with an SEK Cruisers event July 17. Dorothy Squires said Hope Unlimited also lost state and federal funding and that monthly fund raisers were planned.
A bid from Decorator Supply, Inc., Iola, was approved to replace floor coverings in the Extension office. The bid, the lower of two, was $4,055.68.
Commissioners scheduled a hearing at 11 a.m. June 30 for public comments on concealed carry signs for the courthouse and whatever else proponents or opponents might have on their minds. County Clerk Sherrie Riebel said people unable to attend could e-mail comments to her through the county’s Web site.