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DURA pursues mediation

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Following a lengthy executive session devoted to negotiations with legal counsel, the Delta Urban Renewal Authority last week rejected the property tax increment revenue agreements proposed by the Delta County Fire District and the Delta County Mosquito Control District.

Both taxing entities sent back intergovernmental agreements with zero entered in the amount of property tax increment to be dedicated to the proposed riverfront development in the city of Delta.

Those amounts were estimated at $6,061 for the fire district and $5,627 for the mosquito control district in 2019. Those amounts decline slightly every year over the 25-year life of the agreement.

DURA board member Don Suppes said he cast the sole "no" vote on the fire and mosquito control district votes because he knows the next step is mediation, which could prove costly to all parties involved, and ultimately to the taxpayers. City officials have also wanted to avoid any hard feelings that might result.

Delta city manager David Torgler said special counsel Carolynne White will be contacting the fire and mosquito control districts to advise them that the DURA will be initiating mediation.

According to state statute, a mediator may be jointly selected by the parties. If they are unable to agree on one individual, DURA will select a mediator, the other party will select a second, and the two mediators will then select a third mediator. The mediator has 90 days in which to determine the appropriate sharing of incremental property tax revenues, taking into account the nature of the project, the benefits of the project, and any capital or operating costs that are expected to result from the project.

The cost of mediation must be split equally among the parties.

The school district, library district, hospital district and ambulance district have agreed to give up 100 percent of their property tax increment for the project.

DURA will continue negotiations with Delta County through a 30-day extension period that ends Sept. 20. County officials have said they're asked to become the biggest contributor to the project, but they have just one seat on the DURA board. They're asking for a second seat, as well as modification to the plan boundaries.

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