Logan Apartments up for sale?
The city of Fairfield may be interested in selling Logan Apartments.
City Administrator Kevin Flanagan suggested the city make the sale at Monday’s city council meeting. Flanagan said it made sense at one time for the city to own affordable housing but times have changed. He said he would rather see Logan Apartments under private ownership.
Flanagan said the city should shift away from owning low-income housing toward “incentivizing” businesses to provide the same service.
Councilor Martha Rasmussen said she is impressed with the condition of Logan Apartments, and worries its condition will deteriorate if it’s sold.
Councilor John Revolinski said he wanted to keep Logan Apartments as a city asset because it was a way to generate revenue other than taxes.
“My initial reaction was to be hesitant to give up one of the few moneymakers we have besides taxing people,” he said. “Kevin’s response to that was, ‘Should we really be in the business of being in business? We’re government. Let the business people be in business and we’ll collect taxes.’”
Revolinski said he has changed his mind on Logan Apartments and that he would not oppose selling the property.
The council voted 6-0 to pass a motion stating its support for selling Logan Apartments. Councilors Jessica Ledger-Kalen, Tony Hammes, Michael Halley, Connie Boyer, Revolinski and Rasmussen voted in favor of the motion. Councilor Daryn Hamilton was absent.
The details of how it will be sold will be approved at a subsequent meeting. Halley said he wants the new owner to meet affordability requirements in line with how the apartment is currently run.
According to the city’s website, Logan Apartments is designed for persons 62 years of age or older and persons with a handicap. Residents pay 30 percent of their income. The three-story building has 48 one-bedroom apartments, of which six are handicapped accessible.
In other news, the council voted 6-0 to issue up to $3.8 million in capital loan notes to finance the engineering costs associated with the sewer repair project. The whole project is expected to cost $46 million during the next 17 years.
Boyer said she was flabbergasted at the price tag on the sewer project.
“These numbers are beyond sobering; they’re shocking,” she said.
Boyer asked Flanagan why the expected cost of the project is now so high, considering that earlier estimates were half that amount. Flanagan said the city now has a better understanding of the scope of the problem with the water and sewer mains and that the most recent estimate is more accurate than the earlier ones.
Flanagan and city engineer Melanie Carlson of French-Reneker-Associates drafted a list of projects the city will undertake throughout the summer and fall to improve city streets as well as water and sewer lines.
State representative Curt Hanson addressed the council about commercial property tax reform undertaken in the Iowa Legislature. The business property tax credit the Legislature passed will provide relief on the first $145,000 of value of any commercial property in the state. Hanson said that means two-thirds of commercial properties in the state will be taxed at the residential rate.
Commercial property taxes will be rolled back 10 percent over two years. The state has created a standing appropriation to backfill the loss of property tax revenue to local governments.