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Baxter City Council: Homes in way of road project get new life

BAXTER--Five homes the city of Baxter acquired for the Cypress Drive construction project will be preserved for single family houses. The city is working with Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity and Tuesday, May 15, the council approved a purchase an...

Baxter Community Development Director Josh Doty presents information to the Baxter City Council Tuesday, May 15, at city hall with council member Quinn Nystrom, Steve Barrows, Todd Holman and Mark Cross. Mayor Darrel Olson was absent as he was recovering from surgery. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch
Baxter Community Development Director Josh Doty presents information to the Baxter City Council Tuesday, May 15, at city hall with council member Quinn Nystrom, Steve Barrows, Todd Holman and Mark Cross. Mayor Darrel Olson was absent as he was recovering from surgery. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER-Five homes the city of Baxter acquired for the Cypress Drive construction project will be preserved for single family houses.

The city is working with Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity and Tuesday, May 15, the council approved a purchase and development agreement with the nonprofit organization. With the terms of the agreement, Baxter agrees to sell the five homes-at $1 each-to Habitat and provide the organization with a forgivable loan to buy land and pay for relocation costs for three of the homes, along with construction of two new stick-built homes in Baxter.

For Habitat's part, the organization will preserve the five homes, with three of them relocating within Baxter's city limits, and build two new homes. One home is planned on a vacant city lot and the other on tax-forfeited property. All five houses in Baxter will be sold to eligible homebuyers. House locations include two lots on Birch Drive, two lots on Lynwood Drive and one on Clearwater Road.

The expected timeline has all five homes removed from the Cypress Drive site by July 1.

By Dec. 31, three of the single family homes in Baxter are expected to be substantially complete. A year later by the end of 2019, the two newly constructed homes are expected to be substantially complete as well.

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City staff proposed using tax-increment financing dollars from housing TIF districts to make the forgivable loan-up to $233,500-to Habitat. Staff noted the homeowner-occupied housing project is an acceptable TIF expenditure. Tax-increment financing is a method of financing public or private improvements that are needed to serve new development. While the existing tax on the property continues to be paid, the increase in tax value of the property is returned to the developer for a set period of time to help pay off the cost of the development.

"In addition to preserving the homes and providing affordable housing, the transaction will return the parcels to the tax rolls," the city reported.

The council approved the resolution.

"I just want to compliment the great work that Habitat and our city staff have done in pulling all of this together-a lot of moving pieces or houses as it were," Vice Mayor Todd Holman said.

In other business, the council:

Heard council member Mark Cross issue his standard advice to watch out for motorcycles.

Met in closed session to discuss the purchase of property. The Baxter City Council has been routinely meeting in closed session for negotiations on land purchases in relation to construction projects. After the session, staff was authorized to make an offer and come back with a purchase agreement.

Set a special council meeting at 5 p.m. June 11.

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Will meet in closed session at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 22, for the annual performance evaluation of Administrator Brad Chapulis. A summary of the evaluation is expected at the June 5 council meeting.

Approved a special event permit for Brainerd Lakes Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on

June 30. The run/walk fundraiser at Forestview Middle School is expected to attract about 800 people. The event has been at Forestview since 2008. For the event, road closures area planned on Knollwood Drive from Highland Scenic Road to Mapleton Road and on Mountain Ash Drive from Highland Scenic to Mapleton Road. The police department expects to put in two to four hours of overtime to staff the event.

Approved a special event permit for Lakes Country Triathlon on Aug. 26 at Whipple Beach. The event is expected to include 300 participants and observers and 50 volunteers. The event has been a tradition at the city beach for more than a decade.

Approved the sale of two retired 2013 police Ford sedans at Mid-State Auction. Proceeds from the sale will go to the capital equipment fund.

Authorized an interfund loan for advance of certain costs in connection with the Isle/Falcon Drive Redevelopment Tax Increment Financing District. The TIF district, the city reported, was created to facilitate the redevelopment of a blighted area with a substandard residential building.

"In addition, tax increment generated from the TIF district was identified to finance a portion of the public improvement costs for Isle Drive and access to the redeveloped site on Falcon Drive. Increment generated by the TIF district is being utilized by the city to reimburse itself for the expenses associated with the public improvements.

"The TIF plan authorized over $1.22 million in bonds, including the use of bonds, pay-as-you-go notes and interfund loans. Approval of this interfund loan brings the collective bonds for the TIF district to $620,000, or about one-half of the amount authorized by the TIF plan."

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Amended the tobacco license regulations of the Baxter City Code so all licenses expire June 30 of each year instead of a year after the date of issue.

Ordered the preparation of proposed assessment for the 2018 mill and overlay and full depth reclamation improvement project on Circle Pine Road from Memorywood Drive to Cedar Scenic Road, Emily Road, Emily Circle, Kelly Drive, Kelly Circle, Parkwood Drive from Highway 48 to 50 feet north of Mountain Ash Drive, Parkwood Circle, Flintwood Drive and Wedgewood Drive. Another full-depth reclamation project is planned for College Road from Highway 371 to 280 feet west of Cypress Drive and reconstruction on properties on Cedar Scenic Road from the city limits to 1,000 feet east and Baxter Drive. A hearing is planned at 6 p.m. or later on June 7 in Baxter City Hall. Those who have property affected by the planned street work will have an opportunity to speak with the council.

Approved a temporary liquor license for the Brainerd American Legion event June 2,

at the Northland Arboretum.

Appointed seasonal park attendant positions for summer. The city typically hires eight attendants to mow, maintain ballfields, clean restrooms, open and close parks, and monitor Whipple Beach. Attendants earn $10.50 to $11.50 per hour. Three new applicants were confirmed: Kyle Nieman, Mike Lyscio, Grant Yliniemi.

Approved seasonal vending application for Morey's Fish House and an application for The Grandstand Concession Company at Jack Pine Brewery.

Approved the Hengel Readymix and Construction Inc. quote for the 2018 Cypress Drive

residential home site demolition and restoration improvements project in the not to

exceed amount of $24,800.

Approved the final acceptance of Retail Partners Baxter LLC Developers Agreement

and release letter of credit for $105,606.88.

Approved Pratt's Affordable Excavating Inc. Partial Pay Estimate No. 2 of $113,683.65 for the 2018 Excelsior Road and Edgewood Drive Commercial Improvements Project.

Approved the Music in the Park event at Oscar Kristofferson Park at 6 p.m. July 9 and authorized a $200 musician fee for the event. The event will include live music from Scott Lykins, Lakes Area Music Festival director, and John Taylor Ward, artistic director.

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