Manhattan city commissioners Tuesday will look at establishing a new public arts program.
The commission’s legislative session starts at 7 p.m.at City Hall. Officials also will broadcast the meeting on Cox Cable Channel 3, the Manhattan city government website and Facebook.
Because of the increase of public art projects citywide, city administrators want to discuss establishing an arts program by initially hiring an additional full-time employee to kickstart this program. The city would add this position under the 2022 budget.
The program would help establish public art projects around the city. Prior to this, the city handled art projects by developing a process for each one. With the establishment of this program, the city can leverage resources and create more public art on city property.
This is only a discussion item, and the commission will not vote on the program.
Additionally, the commission will consider issuing industrial revenue bonds (IRB) up to $50 million to Meadowlark Hills.
Meadowlark Hills has submitted a new IRB application to request consolidation of debt. Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the topic.
“They are consolidating past debt along with leveraging around $2 million for current projects,” said Jason Hilgers, deputy city manager.
Manhattan issues IRBs to entities for development to better the entire economy. Under an IRB, the city leases the property financed from the proceeds to the entity, who makes the annual principal and interest payments on the bonds. When the entity pays the bonds in full, the city transfers the property back to them.
“The city’s role in these transactions is based in state statute,” Hilgers said. “The state has provided the city the ability to facilitate these transactions, but we do not take on or issue any city-obligated debt. There is no risk associated with the financing for the city.”
Also on Tuesday, commissioners will continue discussions on the Manhattan Development Code, specifically talking about land development. City officials have updated this code, formerly known as the Unified Development Ordinance, with new zoning regulations into one document.
The main goal is to put all the zoning and design information into one document and make it easier for the public to understand. In 2017, the commission approved $3 million in bonds to Meadowlark in order to acquire additional campus facilities.
Commissioners are providing feedback in a series of discussions with officials while forming the document code before it is formally completed.