CLEAR LAKE — The group that oversees the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake is asking the community’s city council to extend a property tax rebate agreement.
The North Iowa Cultural Center & Museum originally had a three-year agreement with the city starting in 2009 and have had two five-year extensions since that time, with the current agreement expiring in June 2021. The proposed renewal would involve the city portion of the property taxes paid on three properties — the ballroom, the adjoining ballroom dressing room annex, and the Surf Ballroom Music Enrichment Center — in an amount not to exceed $90,000 over a five-year period. The property tax repayments happen twice a year with each payment being roughly $4000.
Museum board president Jeff Nicholas says while the Surf has been impacted by the pandemic, they want to see the ballroom succeed once things get back to normal. “Our promise to you if you’ll continue to support us and continue to come by our side is that when this pandemic is over, we will make the Surf what it was and even more. We’re here for the long run. I don’t know how long it will be before we’ll be able to have 2000 people in that ballroom again, but we’re going to be there and we’re going to do our best to make it what it was and even more.”
Nicholas says the board feels it’s important to move forward with plans to hold the Winter Dance Party event in November that honors fallen rock and rollers Buddy Holly, “The Big Bopper” J. P. Richardson and Ritchie Valens. “We think that event is very important both economically and culturally for this community, and we’re going to do our very best to pull that event off. It’s going to be much smaller numbers. It might mean fewer dollars are going to flow into our coffers, but we’re going to do it. We feel like we need to have that event to continue on with the legacy of that event and obviously the Surf Ballroom.”
The public hearing on renewing the agreement will be held during a special meeting on Monday November 30th at 10:00 AM at City Hall. In order for the agreement to be included in the fiscal year 2022 tax-increment financing certification request to the county, the resolution approving the agreement must be approved and filed by December 1st.