A program aiming to promote and stimulate the construction of more new homes in Dyersville has appeared to have done just that.

On Feb. 3, the Dyersville City Council reviewed applications submitted by 11 homeowners who have completed construction on new houses during the 2019 building season that wish to receive the abatement incentives being offered by the city.

The urban revitalization tax abatement program was initially discussed at length in late 2018 and was intended to serve as a stimulant for the construction of new homes within the city in order to meet the demands for more housing options. As a result, in 2019 around $3.5 million worth of new homes have applied, with the average estimated cost of each new home sitting at approximately $340,000.

The program offers a 100% tax abatement on the first $75,000 of assessed value on the construction of new homes for the first five years. For multi-family units, which consist of three-or-more living units, the tax incentive would be on a 10-year sliding scale which starts at 80% and slides down to 20% but only if at least $500,000 has been invested in the project.

City Administrator Mick Michel said as part of the process, applications for the tax program will be analyzed and submitted to the relevant county auditor each February.

The incentive program is also considered to be self-funded, as it doesn’t impact the city’s operating budget and is fueled solely by new income that theoretically wouldn’t have been created otherwise. The abatement program is set to expire in 15 years or when the council decides that the desired level of new housing has been achieved.

Michel said the ordinance is available for viewing on the city’s website under the “residents” tab.

The council also held a public hearing in accordance with new state legislation that lawmakers said would help add an additional layer of transparency to the budget-making process, although it has not been well received by local elected officials.

“With the new state requirements, everything now works on the maximum property tax dollars, not necessarily the rate,” Michel said. “Right now, the city has received about a 7% growth in property taxes.”

Michel said if the council had chosen not to state their intention to capture all of that new growth, it would revert back and only be 2% of that new revenue could be utilized.

The council held a public hearing on its intent to capture the maximum rate and no written or oral comments were received from the public.

Due to confusion in the wording of a resolution proclaiming that the council had properly conducted its required public hearing, the matter was tabled to allow for clarification and it will be considered again at the next council meeting.

“The state is not really clear with this, so we are following suit with what other cities and municipalities have done when they passed similar resolutions,” Michel said.In other news:

• The Council will hold an informational meeting regarding the potential paving of the Heritage Trail and possibly adding trailhead amenities near Hwy 136 within the limits of the City of Dyersville on Monday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

• Dyersville acquired land from BARD Materials for $27,150 and Alltech, Inc. for $22,108 to facilitate the X49 rehabilitation and roundabout project.

• Council approved a request from Total Fitness to use public streets for the 39th Annual Gaelic Gallop on March 14.