Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, March 29, 1999

Economic Development Authority could help Waverly grow

By Andrea Vargo

An undercurrent of excitement pervaded the Waverly City Council meeting room Tuesday, as the council and the planning and zoning commission heard about economic possibilities for the city.

Steve Moline, land use planner, who has done work for Montrose, Glencoe, Jordan, Fairfax, and other cities, said that Waverly had at one time started the process of establishing an Economic Development Authority (EDA), but stopped somewhere along the line.

The council needs to start at the beginning and do the process again, so that there are no problems from a missed step, he said.

"It shouldn't take long," stated Moline.

He told them the advantages of creating an EDA and how to use it to advantage for Waverly.

An EDA is a local organization that can promote economic growth in Waverly and works under the supervision of the city council.

Council representation on the EDA board is required, but it is commonly made up of a cross section of the community to utilize business expertise and keep it non-political.

It has three, five, or seven members that are appointed and serve for a six-year term.

Council members thought retired business and professional people from the city might be good resources.

The city does need to establish some criteria that shows a need for an EDA and pass a resolution establiSteve Moline, land use planner.

shing that need. After going through the steps to establish the EDA, the board must be appointed.

Some of the powers it can have are the power to create development districts, buy and sell land or personal property, enter into contracts, and participate in limited partnerships,

It can authorize the sale of general obligation and revenue bonds, but the council will set the exact authorities that will be conferred on the EDA. Council members will have the final say in anything they deem necessary.

A plethora of economic options is opened up with the creation of the EDA.

It can serve as a promotional tool for business recruitment or a redevelopment project to address substandard buildings, health or safety hazards, vacant or underutilized railroad property, and many other things.

In fact, it could (not to say that it would) build a new fire station on Highway 12 and lease it to the fire department. The money from the lease would be structured to pay the debt, and any excess would go back into the EDA to provide capital for other projects.

Another scenario might be the acquiring an older building, renovating it, then leasing it to start-up businesses for a reasonable rent. This could provide incentive for new business to locate in Waverly, stated Moline.

There are many things an EDA can do for Waverly, and the council needs to continue the process as soon as possible, he said.

The council would place limits on the activities of the EDA in certain areas where it wishes to retain control.

Planning and Zoning Commissioner Adrian Duske asked Moline how much would be appropriate for initial funding of the EDA.

Moline said $50,000 would be nice, but he understood Waverly is a small city.

Funding would probably be minimal at first, since this is not a budget item, yet. Mayor Charlie Bush suggested starting with $1,000.

"You'll have a better idea after you investigate and decide how aggressive you want to be," Moline told the council.

Most small cities start with a small pot, and it grows over time, he said.

Moline also addressed land use planning and the attendant rezoning of some areas in the city.

Even when an area is rezoned, it doesn't mean anyone is going to be forced out of their home, said Duske.

It is just a way of envisioning the city in 20 years, and determining what belongs where, he said.

The group threw around ideas for quite a while, but determined it would meet at least one more time to finalize the land use plan.

The creation of the EDA and rezoning for a land use plan are concurrent issues, said Moline, and they should be finished about the same time.

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