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NY Mills City Council paves the way for more affordable housing

Editor's note: This is an updated version of the front page article appearing in this week's print publication of the Perham Focus.

The New York Mills City Council last week approved its portion of a deal that could bring more affordable housing into town.

The city has agreed to sell a developer land for $1 for the construction of a large rental housing development.

Both the developer and the NY Mills Economic Development Authority still need to approve and sign the contract before the deal is finalized.

The potential agreement will allow the developer to purchase land in the Country View section of town for $1, plus any legal costs associated with the sale.

The city has agreed to defer an estimated $74,000 in assessments. The city will earn that total back, and possibly more, when the increased value of the rental property brings in future Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, revenue.

The TIF district will allow the city to capture the difference in taxes between what the property is worth before and after development.

More details about the development will be revealed in coming months.

In other city news, Mayor Julie Gerber nominated former mayor Larry Hodgson to be a voting member on the EDA. Gerber nominated him because of his experience and previous time commitment with the EDA.

Gerber also nominated Amy Sobieski, Todd Cameron, Ken Hendrickx and David Rud to continue serving on the EDA board.

Greg Karvonen, who was previously serving on the EDA, has moved from a voting member to an advisory member. Gerber made the decision by "looking strictly at attendance over the past year." Karvonen attended the fewest meetings.

Gerber and councilor Bill Warner will also be on the EDA.

Also at last week's meeting:

-The city council approved a 5 percent increase in its sewer and water rates. This increase is considered in the annual budget.

-According to the liquor store report, the total profits from 2012 were up almost $33,000 from the previous year.

-The city accepted an anonymous donation of $1,200 to help people with their utility bills. The donation came with the request to use the money, "toward utility accounts of customers in need of assistance despite their good faith efforts at paying their bills."

-The council also accepted a $700 donation to the NY Mills library from the New Horizons group.