Funding sought for FD city plan

A planning document that would build on the Envision 2030 study and address everything from annexation to the use of the riverfront is being considered by Fort Dodge leaders.

Hiring a consultant to help write such a plan would cost between $165,000 to $215,000, and City Council members spent some time Monday evening discussing how to come up with that much money.

They voted unanimously to endorse a concept presented by the city staff that calls for using money from water and sanitary sewer accounts and adding a temporary surcharge onto the fees charged for building permits, along with other sources of money. Monday’s vote did not, however, enact any surcharges.

City Manager David Fierke said the proposed plan would be a ”pretty significant planning document.”

Topics that may be covered in it include annexation of land into the city limits, land use, the downtown, trails, the Des Moines River, housing options, public safety, sewers, streets, transportation and zoning.

The Envision 2030 plan, adopted in 2007, provides a strategic blueprint for Fort Dodge, but doesn’t necessarily include the level of detail that may be included in the proposed comprehensive plan.

The Slater Group LLC, of Woodstock, Ga., assisted in the development of Envision 2030, The company was paid a contract fee of $28,500, plus expenses.

Stephanie Houk Sheetz, the senior city planner, said she hopes the new comprehensive planning process can begin when the new fiscal year starts on July 1.

She presented an outline of possible sources of money to pay for the plan. Those sources include the city government, the downtown Self-Supported Municipal Improvement District, the Iowa Department of Transportation, Dodger Area Rapid Transit, and local foundations.

According to that outline, the city’s share of the money would come from the water and sanitary sewer budgets, plus the proposed surcharges.

The surcharges would be an extra $5 or $10 added to building permit fees, depending on the value of the construction, A $10 surcharge would also be added to applications for site plan reviews, zoning variances, property subdivision requests and rezoning requests. Sheetz said the surcharges would be in place for three years, and would generate an estimated $15,000.