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The Rundown – Commission considers incentive for new home construction

Post Date:05/29/2019 4:13 PM

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. May 28, 2019, Newton City Commission meeting

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the City Commission heard a proposal for an incentive program for new home builders, presented by a working group of local real estate agents and bankers.

Realtor Gary Hill said the program is needed because Newton’s inventory of newly constructed homes is very low and doesn’t have enough selection to attract new home buyers. Hill said many builders in the region are no longer willing to take the risk of building here because new homes haven’t sold fast enough. If a spec home remains on the market for an extended period of time, it eliminates or greatly reduces the profit for the builder.

Under the proposal, the City would provide qualified builders up to $10,000 per dwelling unit to assist with interest payments on construction loans. The City would allocate $100,000 per year to the program. In addition, the City would agree that for any new home under construction, the builder would not be charged for sewer service, would be charged only for the water used rather than a minimum charge, and would not be charged for trash/recycling service unless the builder requested it.

The City would benefit from new property tax revenue generated by the new homes on the market. On a $200,000 home, the City would recoup its $10,000 investment in about seven years.

The housing working group stressed the need to move quickly on the program for the 2019 construction season. City Commissioners thanked them for their work on the proposal and said they would discuss it again at their June 11 meeting.

Community recognition

The Commission recognized the Newton students who participated in the Kansas All-State Honor Choirs, including fifth-grader Ellie Entz.

The Commission also honored the Newton High School journalism students who participated in State competitions.

In other action, the City Commission:

  1. Instructed staff to proceed with plans for street improvements along South Kansas Avenue to serve a new commercial development. This will include building 300 feet of Wheatridge Drive on the west, re-aligning Wheatridge on the east, installing a traffic signal, and closing the median on South Kansas to make Windward right-in, right-out only.
  2. Approved a request to waive special event fees for the Sand Creek Summer Daze Festival on Aug. 16-17 at Athletic Park.
  3. Approved a request to waive fees for snow fencing for the Mexican-American Fast Pitch Tournament on July 6-7.
  4. Approved a request to waive fees for trash and recycling carts for the Headin’ for Home 5K on July 4 at Centennial Park.
  5. Approved a request to waive fees for snow fencing for the Junior Rodeo at the Newton Saddle Club Arena on June 15-16.
  6. Approved a request to close the 500 block of Main Street and waive fees for the Downtown Food Truck Throwdown on June 22. A temporary alcohol permit was also approved.
  7. Approved a temporary alcohol permit for Blues, Brews & Barbecue on Sept. 28 at Athletic Park.
  8. Approved a temporary cereal malt beverage permit for an event on June 1 at Ultimate Martial Arts.
  9. Appointed Bob Myers to the Harvey County Economic Development Council.

For more information, please contact Director of Communications Erin McDaniel at 284-6055 or

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