Legislative update 5/11, thanks in major part to Iowa League of Cities

I am shamelessly co-opting a good portion of the Friday legislative update from Robert Palmer and the Iowa League of Cities’ for this post regarding the progress of TIF legislation and cell tower siting.

An amendment to HF628, the bill that impacts Iowa’s Urban Renewal law, was filed online last week. The amendment removes the language related to ratcheting up by 7.5 percent the bases of TIF districts that do not currently have a sunset until no increment remains and replaces it with new language that would:

  • Make changes to the definition of “blighted area” under Code Section 403.17;
  • Set a sunset for pre-1995 economic development TIF districts in year 2035 and all future economic development TIF districts would continue to have a 20-year limitation, which is current law;
  • Set a sunset in year 2040 for any current slum and blight TIF district and all future TIF districts formed for slum and blight would be limited to 25 years, which is a change from no current time limitation to these districts;
  • Allow the Department of Management to make rules to implement the new limitations.

The bill still creates a reporting requirement for the Legislative Services Agency to separate out the total TIF debt from annual TIF debt on the existing forms in a report to legislators and would prohibit TIF from being utilized on future public buildings.

HF655, the “Iowa Cell Siting Act,” passed out of the House on Thursday morning with an amendment by a vote of 59-39. The goal of this bill is to provide a standard set of regulations in relation to wireless broadband deployment. It prohibits cities and counties from considering several important factors in making their determinations on the siting of new cell towers.  House Chamber Rules were suspended to allow Amendment H-1336 to be attached to HF655. The amended bill attaches the flood mitigation language that was originally removed from the Iowa Economic Development Authority Omnibus bill in the House Ways & Means Committee. The flood mitigation portion affects the cities in the Des Moines metropolitan area.

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