By PETER HUSSMANN
The Newton City Council on Monday will be given one last chance to decide whether it wants to move forward with a plan to seek state tax credits to help cover the costs of repairs to the Maytag Bowl, a move that will result in the council relinquishing its ultimate authority over Bowl operations.
Earlier this year, the council hired a Cedar Rapids consultant to look into the possibility of the city participating in the State Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program where tax credits amounting to 25 percent of the project costs could be received to offset the cost of rehabilitation of the Bowl. It was determined that the structure was eligible for participation and that approximately $40,000 of the total cost could be received through the state tax credit program.
But as part of participation, the city would be required - as Jasper County has done in its participation with the program for improvements to the Jasper County Courthouse - to establish a non-profit corporation to receive the tax credits. That entity, now and into perpetuity, would then control operations of the Maytag Bowl, not the City of Newton nor the Newton City Council.
The organization would be comprised of seven board members; two representing city parks/public works/community development departments; one from the city council, one park commissioner and one from the Historic Preservation Commission. Two other at-large committee members would be selected for the three year terms.
In taking one last look, Newton City Administrator Bob Knabel outlined several questions for the City Council to consider before establishing the non-profit organization:
- While the property will not be deeded to them, the board will have ultimate authority over Maytag Bowl operations. Should there ever be a dispute between the council and the board, the board will have the final decision.
- Insurance and bonding would be required for the board, though the annual cost of that funding has not been sourced.
- While the intent of the board is understood at the current time, that intention might change over time.
Finally, Knabel asked the council to consider whether the "possible gain of the $40,000 in tax credits (is) worth the long-term costs and risks associated with the board?"