Wednesday morning, councilman Kim Alstott held a public meeting at the Fort Dodge Public Library. Alstott started the meeting by discussing his reasoning for agreeing to a compromise on the cross-town connector project, which delays construction until 2014.
Alstott said that the contract with Fareway clearly states that a connector was to be built, and he didn't want to go back on his word. After an audience member pointed out that other businesses had promised to come to Fort Dodge and backed out of it, Alstott said, "It's not advantageous for a city to back out of deals. I think if you make a promise, you should keep your word." Alstott added that incoming businesses are only looking at the city's habits, and aren't concerned about what other companies do. Alstott also said that the compromise in place gives something to everybody.
Another talking point for the councilman was the recent request by local contractors to receive TIF financing for a housing development west of town. Alstott said that while he doesn't want to use TIF, he says that it's a necessary evil in order to entice contractors to build in Fort Dodge. Alstott said, "You have to do whatever you can to encourage growth. Other communities are already starting to do this, and I think we're going to lose out."
Alstott became visibly upset when talking about the future of Fort Dodge. "You can sit here and you can say I don't want to use TIF, I don't want to do the cross-town connector, I don't want to do anything. You can just go back to being a retirement community, and if that's what you want, fine. You see what's happening right now. Everyday property taxes are rising because people aren't moving to Fort Dodge."
Councilman Mark Taylor joined the meeting late and after the first question involved the CTC, Taylor said that the issue had been talked about enough. Taylor said, "I thought we put this to bed for the next 18 months. This will be a referendum on the next election. We have so much work to do in this city. So let's get to it." Taylor also said that this summer will be heavily focused on re-paving streets, like the majority of the new council ran on.