Dowagiac renews Pokagon Band fire agreementPublished 2:50pm Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Dowagiac City Council Monday night renewed its fire agreement with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians for three years.
The Pokagon Band continues to develop 320 acres of property on Dailey Road south of Mathews Street.
This property is going into federal trust with 34 existing homes, a community center and new housing under construction.
Dowagiac provided fire protection services for this area by agreement with LaGrange Township.
Now that the land is going into trust, LaGrange will no longer have jurisdiction and a contract with the Pokagon Band is necessary to continue service, according to City Manager Kevin Anderson.
This agreement establishes a base taxable value, a method for calculating future valuations and a rate similar to a tax rate to assure fair, equitable rates for years to come.
Terms of the agreement include:
• Dowagiac provides fire protection to 320.3 acres.
• The initial base taxable valuation of the area served is $3,770,734. This
valuation will grow in a similar manner to taxable values throughout Michigan, which is
either the rate of inflation (determined by state law) or 5 percent — whichever is lower.
• Taxable value of future construction will be valued at 50 percent of the actual cost of new construction.
• The three-year term is the same as agreements with LaGrange and Pokagon townships.
• The payment due annually will be .40 percent of the taxable value. This is lower than the .42 percent charged to Pokagon and LaGrange, however, this slightly reduced rate is because the valuation includes all buildings and structures on the 320 acres.
Some construction, such as the community center, would be exempt if owned by a state or local government. Including all buildings will compensate for the slightly lower rate and make the rate fair to all entities.
The first year of the agreement will generate $15,082.94
“However,” Anderson said, “it is important to remember that there will be a reduction to the LaGrange Township contract because the area and valuation will be reduced by the 320 acres held in trust.”
In December 2009, Dowagiac loaned Premier Tool and Die Cast Corp. a little over $700,000 as part of the purchase and redevelopment of the former ICG factory on North Paul Street.
Since that time, they have been fully operational with approximately 70 employees.
Over the past year, they paid property tax of about $25,500 and are averaging a little more than$10,000 per month of utility bills.
The interest rate on the loan is 7.5 percent. To date, Premier has paid $364,871 towards the principal and $101,126 in interest. The loan has a balloon payment of $309,019.31 due Dec. 1.
Premier requested the balloon payment be extended to Dec. 1, 2013. All other terms (interest rate, monthly payments, etc.) remain unchanged.
“Given the number of jobs, the tax impact, the utility impact and the fact that payments have been made in a relatively timely manner, I am satisfied that extending the balloon payment for one year will not add risk to this economic development loan,” Anderson said. “Since the interest rate is 7.5 percent and the city has a first position note on this property, it should give us a reasonable comfort level that the investment is well secured and the return is solid.”
Three-way stop dropped
Council approved removing stop signs on West Railroad Street at its intersection with East Telegraph Street.
When removing stop signs, warning signs indicating a changed condition will be put in place so motorists are aware of changes made.
The city is scheduled to replace one plain vehicle for the detective assigned to the Cass County Drug Enforcement Team (CCDET). The vehicle will be purchased by the city and reimbursed by the county through the drug millage.
Council authorized the purchase of a vehicle for CCDET for $19,957.50.
set for Dec. 10
Council scheduled a public hearing at 7 p.m. Dec. 10 to consider declaring a property at 311 N. Paul St. a public nuisance.
Council canceled its Dec. 24 meeting, which falls on Christmas Eve.
City seeks downtown
Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) is accepting grant applications for downtown infrastructure projects with an emphasis on streetscape improvements. Applications are due Nov. 30.
“We plan to submit parking lot improvements for Front Street and Pennsylvania (next to the Wolverine Building), streetscape improvements, varying utilities on Front and Main and landscaping at 207 W. Division St.,” where Candy Corner was located, Anderson said.