Haan property taxes on agenda for Ishpeming City Council

ISHPEMING – The Ishpeming City Council will consider approving an amendment to a city ordinance regarding city property taxes collected from G.A. Haan Development on the former C.L. Phelps School building at a 7 p.m. meeting Wednesday at the Ishpeming Senior Center.

Because Haan has received funds from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to “erect, own, renovate, rehabilitate and operate a housing development” – to turn the school building into Phelps Square Apartments, with 24 units of low- to moderate-income housing – the amendment states that Haan will pay “an annual service charge for public services in lieu of all taxes,” according to council packet materials. The service charge will be paid to the city the same way as general property taxes, except that it will be paid in one yearly payment.

The council will also consider granting an easement to the company to maintain existing canopies and areas of the school building that enter into city right-of-ways. The easement allows for permanent “access, construction, operation, repair, replacement and maintenance” of the existing canopies, though Haan will not be allowed to expand them in any way.

The council will also consider declaring 1,200 books from the Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library surplus and reimbursing the library’s donor-funded Building Accessibility and Renovation Campaign for costs of removing and repairing damage from a fuel tank.

“We feel the … fund should be reimbursed for these expenses … because the library is a city … building and this tank, which was left unchecked for decades, would have had to have been dealt with regardless of the handicap accessible ramps being installed,” Library Director John McNaughton said in a letter to the city.

In other action, the council will consider the selling of city property on West Johnson Street to James and Angela Roat, the amending of various city account budgets to reflect the increased revenues from the water and sewer funds and the attendance of City Manager Mark Slown at the Michigan Local Government Management Association 2014 Winter Institute in downstate Battle Creek at the end of January.

Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401.