|8/30/2013 10:09:00 AM|
Council pleased with agreement for assisted living project proposal
by PAUL RIGNELL
Assisted living is closer to becoming a housing option for Taylors Falls seniors after the City Council heard Monday that a developer’s current funding plan would protect the city’s tax base. The council first reviewed a plan in May for the Community Asset Foundation and Development Group, working with the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, to build a 24-unit “senior cottages” campus on Mulberry St.
The funding plan that the City Council studied in May, however, did not leave them ready to sign on as a bonding agent for tax increment financing of more than $800,000 toward a $3.3 million campus. The city was not a primary party, able to recoup annual tax increments over 25 years. Revenues that exceeded operating costs would have gone first to meeting obligations on a larger financing bond. City officials were objecting to looking at adding more than $5,000 to the city’s taxes per year; and said they were unwilling to move further on considering the senior housing campus with that funding plan. To keep its Taylors Falls project on the table, the development group agreed to rework the financing and prioritize the city’s tax increment after the partners met with Mayor Mike Buchite and Vice Mayor Ross Rivard since the May council meeting.
If the new development stays on track, with site plans submitted to the city by mid-April next year, Good Samaritan would expand offering assisted living across the river, in Taylors Falls. Dave Pokorney, a partner with the Community Asset Development Group, addressed the Taylors Falls council Aug. 26 and said there is a larger market for new senior housing with services than just two years ago. And a provider proposing a new campus in St. Croix Falls, Wisc., Pokorney said, has since dropped that plan. A Taylors Falls project would be the fourth development in Minnesota for Pokorney’s group, which is based in Chaska and affiliated with the Good Samaritan Society.
Their third cooperative effort is in Howard Lake, in Wright County, where Pokorney reported that native seniors have said they would not want to move into existing senior housing just 12 miles away in the “big city” of Cokato. When the residents enter a campus with assisted living, like the development group’s first project in Mountain Lake, they become at home immediately, Pokorney said. It is common to hear new residents say, “ ‘I should have moved here months ago,’” he added. Taylors Falls council members agreed that opening a campus for assisted living would be beneficial for senior residents who have made the city their home through their adult lives.
At least 20 percent of all units would be open to seniors whose incomes equal 50 percent or less of the area median income, which Pokorney said is about $29,000 for a single person. Other city business The council approved contracts for two public works projects that were scheduled and budgeted for this fall. Sewer cleaning and lining will go to Visu-Sewer, of Blaine, for its bid of $41,457.15. A second bid, from a business based in Hugo, exceeded $58,900. Ditch repair work on West Street is being awarded to Gustafson Excavating, of North Branch, for its low bid of $6,400. A second bid totaled $6,480, from a firm in Osceola.