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Citys 1 land deal with CU in court
NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (1/6/11)--A three-hour hearing was held Tuesday in a Johnson County, Iowa, District Court on whether a judge should issue a temporary injunction to prevent the city of North Liberty and a development group from buying land and transferring some of the acreage for a new University of Iowa Community CU (UICCU) headquarters. In the hearing, the city defended its economic development project, saying that its process is standard procedure for municipalities' developments (Press-Citizen.com Jan. 5). A group of residents filed a petition in November to halt the sales transaction, saying the plan goes against the city's comprehensive future development plan and that the public wasn't informed adequately about the project. The group also expressed concerns that it would increase property owners' taxes. The city planned to partner with 380 Development Group to buy 64 acres for $11 million and then transfer 24 acres to the credit union for $1 as an incentive to build (News Now Nov. 15). According to the Press-Citizen, the city began discussions with the credit union about relocating in North Liberty in early 2010. In October, it passed a resolution authorizing the sale of $11 million in tax bonds, which UICCU would purchase. Then the credit union location would be placed in a Tax Increment Finance district and the city could use that tax revenue to repay the bonds over 20 years. State law requires the city to have a third-party development group facilitate such a sale because the sale is for a below-fair-market price. Parties in the case will file briefs within the next month and Judge Paul Miller will decide whether to issue a permanent injunction. At that point, the city would have to take the case to trial. Meanwhile, the city is moving forward with UICCU and the current landowner, said the article.


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