SIOUX CITY | The Sioux City Council on Monday continued its efforts to educate the public and stay up to date on the Reinvestment District project, Sioux City's bid for $14 million in future state sales tax and hotel-motel tax dollars.
During Monday's meeting, Sioux City Economic Development director Marty Dougherty laid out the basics of the project, which includes a total public and private investment of $72 million.
The three elements of the project include a $20 million Courtyard by Marriott hotel to be built next to the Sioux City Convention Center, an ag expo center in the city's former stockyards area and Ho-Chunk Inc.'s renovation of historic buildings into mixed-use commercial and residential property on Virginia Street.
Mayor Bob Scott said he took issue with some explanations from city staff that seem to imply the city isn't using tax dollars to fund renovations to the Convention Center. The city is using tax dollars up-front to fund the improvements but expects to more than recoup them through tax-increment financing and increased hotel-motel taxes.
"The public is having a hard time with this project," Scott said. "I’m not saying that you guys are making a bad decision ... I'm just saying we need to be very transparent in this process."
Dougherty said future steps on the project include finalizing the agreement for the hotel and continuing with the design and fundraising of the Ag Expo Center project.
The City Council will vote on a development agreement with Kinseth Hospitality Inc., the developer of the hotel, on June 5. It will also vote on a management agreement that will give the company management of the Sioux City Convention Center.
City manager spending authority
In other action Monday, the council deleted an agenda item that would have doubled the city manager's spending authority from $25,000 to $50,000.
The deletion came after city manager Bob Padmore told the council he preferred not to have the ability to approve purchases above $25,000 without council approval and, even if it were passed, would still bring such items before the council.
"I'm comfortable with it staying at the $25,000 limit," he said. "It will ensure that bidding requirements are met. It will help with local preference issues."
Tritz Pallet development agreement
The council also voted 5-0 to approve a development agreement with Tritz Pallet Inc. and the sale of a 12-acre tract of land and speculative building in the Bridgeport West Industrial Park at 2201 Boulevard of Champions.
Tritz Pallet, a pallet management company with corporate offices in Le Mars, Iowa, plans to build a new industrial and manufacturing facility on approximately 12 acres of the property and invest approximately $9.5 million.
The project will include building out the current spec building and constructing an additional 140,000 square foot industrial building north of the spec building.
Sewer rate increase
On another 5-0 vote, the council passed the second reading of a proposed 3 percent sewer rate hike. If it passes its third reading June 5, residents will see their bills increase beginning July 1.