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The Rundown – City grants tax abatement for Future Foam expansion

Post Date:08/30/2018 10:21 AM

The Rundown is prepared by the City of Newton Public Information Office to summarize the City Commission meeting and does not represent official Commission minutes.

7 p.m. August 28, 2018, Newton City Commission meeting

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the City Commission granted a 10-year, 100 percent tax abatement to Future Foam for a planned expansion at its manufacturing facility at 520 S. Payton in Newton.

The $5.4 million expansion will add 77,000 square feet to the facility and seven new jobs, for a total of 85 employees. The project is expected to break ground in September and to be completed in August 2019.

Future Foam is headquartered in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and has 27 locations worldwide. Its Newton facility manufactures polyurethane foam used in furniture, bedding, boat seats, office chair seats, carpet pads and related products.

PBC and Municipal Pool

The City Commission approved an extension of an interlocal agreement with the Newton School District and Recreation Commission for the purpose of maintaining and improving recreation facilities.

The three entities each contribute .8 mills to the Public Building Commission, which since 2004 has used the funding to renovate Fischer Field with artificial turf, replace scoreboards, construct new restrooms, and do other projects at facilities throughout town. The agreement between the three entities was scheduled to expire in 2024, and this extension will continue it to 2044. The new agreement also includes a good faith (but non-binding) interest in undertaking improvements to the Newton Municipal Pool and additional ballfields at Centennial Park, as well as a willingness to increase the PBC contribution to 1 mill from each entity.

The City Commission gave the go-ahead Tuesday to continue the planning process for additional ballfields and enhancements at Centennial Park, with a rough estimated cost of $900,000. On the Municipal Pool, however, Commissioners were not ready to commit to a $1.7 million renovation proposal to add water features and other improvements to the existing pool structure.

Commissioners all expressed a desire to provide the kind of high-quality amenities that draw young families to move to a community or entice a company to locate a business there. But they did not want to rush into a decision about what a new pool should look like just to meet the construction deadline for 2019’s swim season.

The Commission agreed to spend more time considering the future of the pool and to do some strategic planning about all community amenities, including the pool, the library, and downtown enhancements, possibly including a scientific survey to learn more about residents’ desires and what they are willing to pay for. In the meantime, staff were directed to make necessary repairs to the pool to ensure operations for 2019.

In other action, the City Commission:

  1. Approved a special event request from Harvey County Parents as Teachers for use of Centennial Park on Sept. 21 for Touch-A-Truck Night.
  2. Approved a special event request to close West Fifth Street and Poplar on Sept. 29 for the Red Hot Chili Pepper 5K.
  3. Approved a special event request to close West Sixth Street on Sept. 29 for the Chili Cook-off and approved a temporary alcohol permit for the event.
  4. Reappointed Jerry Wall and Steve Johnson to the Historic Preservation Commission.
  5. Levied special assessments on Autumn Glen Fourth Addition and Summer Crossing Addition.
  6. Set a public hearing on proposed special assessments to Fieldstone Addition for 7 p.m. Sept. 11.
  7. Released the City’s reversionary interest in the property of Prairie Fire housing development, meaning the project is complete and the developer complied with the development agreement in full.
  8. Reviewed an application for a 2018 federal Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) to purchase Tasers for Newton Police Department.
  9. Approved an Automatic Mutual Aid Agreement between the fire departments serving Harvey County to provide automatic aid to fires within cities as well as in rural areas.

 For more information, please contact Director of Communications Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or emcdaniel@newtonkansas.com.

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