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Clear Lake to redraw boundaries of two voting wards

Clear Lake wards two and three

Clear Lake's current borders for its second and third wards. 

The Clear Lake City Council met Monday to go over a lengthy, nine-page agenda, featuring discussions about new voting precincts, development agreements and personnel additions. 

New voting precincts

Clear Lake's wards two and three could be looking a little different come January. The council examined a proposed boundary change in response to the results of the 2020 U.S. Census. 

Cities are traditionally only allowed to change its voting precincts every 10 years, when the census is completed, and are required to maintain as even a population level as possible, across all precincts.

Cerro Gordo County Auditor Adam Wedmore said the ward changes were in compliance with federal and local legislation. "The proposed new precinct boundaries would meet all statutory requirements still and meet our threshold for being convenient to the voter and efficient to run elections," Wedmore said. 

In the 2020 census, Clear Lake reported a total population of 7,687 with 2,531 in ward one, 2,777 in ward two and 2,379 in ward three. 

With the proposed changes, 410 people will be relocated from ward two to ward three, giving ward two 2,367 people and ward three 2,789. 

For the changes to become official, a public hearing about the proposed changes must be held, which the council has scheduled as part of a special session at 8:30 am. Monday, Nov. 29. 

There must be three readings of the proposed change to the wards, and Clear Lake City Administrator Scott Flory recommended the city council do at least two of the readings at the special session meeting so the process can be complete as soon as possible.

Any changes to the Clear Lake wards won't take effect until Jan. 15, 2022, and would remain in effect until 2032. 

RCP development agreement 

The council reviewed and approved a measure to sign on to a development agreement with RCP Investments LLC.  

The RCP project has been discussed at length in previous meetings, with the city council first entering into a letter of intent with the group on Sept. 20.

RCP has been renovating the former Five Star Cooperative property, located at 2809 Main Ave. in Clear Lake, to turn around a property Flory previously described as "dilapidated." 

Upon completion of the renovations, which the city hopes to see by the end of this fall, it is expected that Greenlee Corrugated Solutions Inc. will enter into a 10-year lease agreement, and begin operating its packaging company out of the building. The business is expected to bring up to 10 new jobs to the community. 

Council members also reviewed an ordinance that would approve RCP for a five-year partial property-tax exemption. The tax emption will run on a declining schedule, starting at 75% exempt in the first year, 60% in the second, 45% in the third, 30% in the fourth and 15% in the final year. 

The city council unanimously approved the motion to enter into a development agreement with RCP, and the ordinance providing RCP with the tax exemption. 

New hires

A couple of people were granted new positions with the city of Clear Lake during Monday night's city council meeting. 

Jim Jackson was hired as the full-time Clear Lake Parks Superintendent. Jackson had been serving as the interim department head for the past few months, and was praised by members of the city government for the work he has done so far. 

"We've been very fortunate with Jim filling the roll that he did," councilmember Bennet Smith said. "I think he's done a terrific job."

The council also appointed Kirk Kraft as a new member to the city's planning and zoning commission. 

Kraft's term on the commission will run until Dec. 31, 2026. 

Jackson and Kraft's appointments were approved unanimously by the city council. 

Zachary Dupont covers politics and business development for the Globe Gazette. You can reach him at 641-421-0533 or zachary.dupont@globegazette.com. Follow Zachary on Twitter at @ZachNDupont

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