Amendment for Eagle Grove school funding passed by Supervisors

After the hearing, Bryce Davis (new administrator for the City of Eagle Grove), Dan Kinney with Iowa Central Community College, and Eagle Grove Mayor Sandy McGrath discussed the amendment. Photo by Kacey Ginn

Close to 30 people attended a hearing Monday on whether Tax Increment Financing from the Urban Renewal Area established to accommodate Prestage should be used to fund an expansion for the Eagle Grove Community School District. Support was divided among attendees, but the county board of supervisors voted to approve the Urban Renewal Plan amendment to support the funds 3-0.

Bryce Davis, previously county economic development director, first gave some background on the hearing.

“We received a letter from the Eagle Grove Community School District asking for some assistance on May 5 of 2017,” Davis said. The letter requested no particular dollar amount, but expressed concern for financial relief.

Once the expansion was planned for the Eagle Grove elementary school, Davis requested the hearing for the urban renewal plan amendment. The board did not receive a formal request for funds until January 3, after the hearing had already been scheduled. The Eagle Grove CSD requested $1 million in the letter. Davis said the bond issue to pay for the expansion would not exceed $1.5 million—enough for the project and interest on the bond.

“Essentially, the 2016 Wright County Ag Urban Renewal Area is being modified for an educational enhancement facility project,” Davis said. “It’s basically an economic development grant to relieve the taxing jurisdiction within the first couple years until other things start cashflowing.”

Jess Tolliver, superintendent of Eagle Grove schools, also said that the funds were to help them fill the school’s needs before the district starts receiving the protected property taxes from the plant site.

“We are trying to borrow against our own taxable valuation to get money up front in 2018 when we need it, vs. in 2020 when the plant comes online and we have it for our taxes,” he said.

Read the full story in the January 11 edition.