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Supervisors Consider Tax Abatement For Expanding Business

By Staff | Jul 3, 2012

A tax abatement opportunity for a new business in Palo Alto County was discussed by the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors during their June 28 meeting.

Rolland Svoboda, General Manager of Pro Cooperative, shared that plans to construct a feed mill west of Ayrshire were being furthered.

“We’re in the process right now of finalizing the purchase of 20 acres just a mile west of Ayrshire. Our intention is to build a feed mill and grain facility there,” said Svoboda. “There are still a lot of hoops to jump through yet. I just got an E911 address, we’re looking at a zoning change; we’re looking at some potential approach difference; and we want to talk about some possible tax abatement, which is why we’re here.”

“When we’re done, that set up is going to be in the neighborhood of two and a half million bushels,” Svoboda added.

“Will you be taking soybeans?” asked Supervisor Ed Noonan.

“Not at this time,” Svoboda answered. “Right now corn is intention.”

Noonan asked if any new jobs would be created.

“Yes and no, it’s a hard thing,” said Svoboda. “We’ve got a feed mill in Ruthven that’s kind of old and inefficient right now. We’ve got a feed mill in Plover that’s kind of old and inefficient. This feed mill will be very high tech.”

“You mentioned Plover. Will some of those jobs be moved up here?” Noonan wondered.

“It depends,” said Svoboda. “You go from two very labor intensive feed mills to one that is more automated. They will be displaced in some fashion. We just don’t know exactly if they will be moved up. It depends on the person. It depends if they want to be part of the feed mill or part of the grain.”

Svoboda added that job creation is dependent on “how many tons will be pulled through.”

Supervisor Leo Goeders inquired where the product would go.

“Pocahontas, Emmet, and Dickinson Counties,” Svoboda answered. “We do more intermediate local customers. A lot of the feed is going to the hog and chicken confinements. We’ll probably have five people working and ten to 15 drivers, but I won’t know until we get there.”

Palo Alto County Auditor Carmen Moser asked what would happen to the Ruthven mill.

“It will probably shut,” said Svoboda.

“Do you have an estimated cost of the project?” asked Lois Naig, Palo Alto County Assessor.

Svoboda estimated a total price tag of between $9 and $11 million.

“It’s a 15 month build time and we’ll let bids in mid-July. One of the reasons we picked this property is because Iowa Lakes Electric goes through there,” said Svoboda.

He continued, “Eventually, we’ll be producing 80 tons per hour, and the demand of feed dictates how many hours we will operate. The demands placed on the feed industry are great.”

“Well, with regards to abatement, I think we as a board will need to sit down and visit with our assessor,” said Keith Wirtz, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, bringing the discussion to a close.