IC to mull UI pact

BY DANIEL SEIDL | APRIL 11, 2014 5:00 AM

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An intergovernmental agreement in Coralville has piqued the interest of Iowa City officials.

“Iowa City’s PILOT agreement with the university has remained largely unchanged for decades,” said Iowa City Mayor Matt Hayek. “… In March, we learned details of the university and Coralville agreement. I think there’s interest in examining those differences.”

The PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement is a concord between the University of Iowa and Coralville officials where the university pays more than $1 million per year for the Iowa River Landing Clinic.

Because the clinic is owned by the state, it is tax exempt, but the university pays Coralville to compensate for the lack of property taxes. This payment, in turn, provides services such as access to mass transit and the Fire Department.

This agreement was made in 2010, though payments started last year.

UI wpokesman Tom Moore said the agreement helps keep the UI in good standing with Coralville.

“The university is committed to trying to be a good public partner,” he said. “We want to pay our fair share for those services.”

Last month, the Iowa City City Council requested staff to procure information about Coralville’s agreement. City Manager Tom Markus said the city officials have not yet decided what they will do with the information.

“We’re looking at them in comparison and trying to decide what direction we’re going to take,” he said. “We need to do some research.”

Iowa City’s agreement with the UI is somewhat broader than Coralville’s, Hayek said. In the Iowa City PILOT agreement, the university pays roughly $1.76 million to provide fire protection services to 17 million square feet of facilities, which equals 10 cents per square foot of protection.

In Coralville, the university pays roughly $6.67 per square foot for services at the Iowa River Landing Clinic.

But Coralville City Councilor Bill Hoeft said the amount of service offered needs to be considered.

“What you need to look at is the entire scope [of services] not just based on the building itself,” he said. “If you put all of those things together, I think it certainly justifies the agreement we have.”
Moore agreed there were other aspects to the agreement.

“For example, the parking garage is something that the city owns and we are able to have our patients use,” he said. “It’s also police coverage and maintenance [for the building].”

While the particular agreement between Iowa City and the UI being discussed only covers fire protection, Moore said there are many service agreements between the two. This includes $236,168 for the city’s sewers and water, $134,000 for the landfill, $349,000 for road maintenance and capital costs, $195,616 to the Iowa City School district, $100,000 to the Iowa City Downtown District, and $35,000 to the Public Library.

With more information about the Coralville PILOT agreement, Hayek said, the City Council may examine Iowa City’s agreement.

“I think it’s a little early to know what the council would want to do,” he said. “We need to wait for the information that was requested. What flows from that remains to be seen, but I think it could inform whether we take a closer examination of our arrangements.”

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