Council approves selling tax credits generated by the Frisco Depot Project

The first item of business for the Augusta City Council at Monday’s regular meeting was consideration of approval of the sale of the City of Augusta’s State Historical tax credits generated by the Frisco Depot Project.
The Kansas State Tax Credit is equal to 25 percent of qualifying expensed incurred during a qualified project on a qualified building.  The depot is a historic structure and deemed qualified.  Buildings may be either income-producing or non income-producing.  Project expenses must exceed $5,000 and all work must meet the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.   
Non-profit organizations, local governments, and other property owners that do not have a Kansas state income tax liability, these credits may be transferred or sold to the highest bidder.
City Manager Josh Shaw explained that the city’s application for the tax credit was approved and that the total qualifying expenses allowed for credit was calculated at $206,772.  
Shaw further explained that three bids were obtained and the high bidder, Commerce Bank of St. Louis, Mo., offered to purchase the tax credits from the City for $0.905 on the dollar.  That equates to a purchase price of $46,782.17, which would be transferred to the City.  In exchange, the City will provide the buyer with a copy of the tax certificate so the tax credits can be claimed.
Shaw advised that the money would go back into the Pride & Progress Program.
Council approved the bid award for the sale of the historical tax credits to Commerce Bank of St. Louis.
Ad Hoc Committee
Council members Ron Reavis and Jason Lowery, along with Mayor Matt Childers, were appointed/approved to be on the Ad Hoc Committee to review Special Alcohol Grant applications.
Bids exceed engineer’s estimate
The city engineer opened bids last month for the sanitary sewer rehabilitation project for Basin A.  All of the bids exceeded the original engineer’s estimate, and the low base bid by $351,637.80.
 “In order to accept the bid, the City will need to make bid approval contingent on the approval by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the CDBG review committee,” Shaw stated.
An amendment to the city’s existing loan agreement with KDHE to increase the previously authorized loan amount is necessary.
The recommendation is that the loan amount be increased by $386,800.  
Rosemary Saunders, grant consultant for KDHE projects stated, “The increase will cover the base bid and provide a 10 percent contingency for any change orders that may arise during the project.”
The increase will result in an annual loan payment of approximately $72,800 compared to $50,000.
Councilors were told that the KDHE loaner would enable the city to be able to borrow at the existing interest rate of 1.81 percent.  If all of the additional funds aren’t used, the city would have two options: Ask for a reduction of the loan or apply the funding  towards preliminary survey and engineering for additional work in Basin C.
Council approved the amended engineer’s estimate of $1,596,800.  Also approved was the low bas bid from SAK Construction, LLC in the amount of $1,561,637.80 for the sanitary sewer rehabilitation project in Basin A, contingent upon approval by the KDHE and CDBG reviews.   Additional funding in the amount of $386,800 through the State Revolving Loan Program and loan amendment from KDHE, was also approved.
Budget amendments
Councilors heard from the city’s finance officer/city clerk Erica Jones concerning four adjustments required for 2017 Budget amendments.  A public hearing is scheduled at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 18, before the regular council meeting.
Interesting GIS presentation
Council members heard about the implementation of new technology that will help city staff provide services in a more efficient manner.
City Manager Shaw offered a look at the upgrades to the GIS utility mapping software.
“The Council made a major investment of this technology and I just want to show you some things about it that will make it easier with zoning and functionality”
Shaw explained that the technology seems simple, but what used to take workers several hours to do, has been improved and shortened.
The software is tied in with some aspects of the county’s, which makes the process easier and more effective, as well.
Other features include showing the entire sanitary sewer system map, with descriptions, types of materials, size, etc.  Man holes and even fire hydrants are located and photos are available.
Water lines are detailed, along with lights, transformers, substations,  and circuit maps.
Shaw explained that the software can generate maps, making it easier for city workers and contractors.
“I’m really excited about this.  It’s going to be a tremendous tool.  Thanks for making the investment,” Shaw said.
Some of the maps and property searches will be available to the public.
Assistant City Manager Cody Sims presented information concerning MyGov Community Development Software and its benefits to Augusta.
“With MyGov in place, our inspectors can go to a job site, do the inspection and input information on a tablet and move right on to the next job,” Sims continued, “The inspectors will have all the needed information pertaining to a particular property while on site.”
Sims added that once a contractor is established with a code that they can then create an online portal and renew licenses, etc.
“This is a tool of value and I thank the governing body for making this investment.”
Shaw stated that eventually a quick link would be added to the city’s website that would make it easier to get to MyGov.us.
Other items
Mayor Childers congratulated City Manager Shaw for completing 300 hours in the Kansas Certified Public Manager (CPM) program.  Shaw participated in a ceremony last week and was asked to be a speaker at the event.
Childers also congratulated Assistant Manager Sims for recently being accepted into the CPM program.
A utility rate work session was scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11, along with a special meeting to discuss the status and upcoming projects at 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018.
Prices for paving the Lake Road have spiked and Council asked staff to research other options in order to help with the dust problems.