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Preston’s new industrial park to go forward

Fri, Apr 25th, 2014
Posted in Preston Government

Mike Bubany, David Drown and Associates, presented information related to the plan for Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District 8 at the Preston City Council’s April 21 meeting. Three public hearings were held related to the industrial park, including one to establish TIF District 8, one for a business subsidy agreement with Bluff Country Manufacturing, and one for a business subsidy agreement with JMS Agronomics.

TIF District 8 includes about six acres located south and west of the intersection of Highway 52 and Highway 16 north of Preston. The TIF District will be primarily for manufacturing and industrial uses. The plan calls for nine increment collections starting in 2016.

The original market value of those properties as they are today will be distributed as normal property taxes. About $207,813 of site improvement, preparation costs and other related expenses for the TIF will be financed with the increment. The total amount eligible for reimbursement with the TIF is $290,673, which includes administration and financing expenses.

Necessary public infrastructure improvements including utility extensions and roadway construction will be financed with a combination of state grant funds, tax increments and/or any necessary city contributions.

The city will acquire the site, make the public infrastructure improvements, and sell the two parcels for $35,000 each.

Bluff Country Industries, LLC plans to construct an 8,600 square foot facility that it will lease to Bluff Country Manufacturing, Inc. The manufacturer assembles printed circuit boards and related materials.

JMS Agronomics, Inc. warehouses and distributes Pioneer Seed and the company plans the construction of a 8,000 square foot facility.

There were no public comments at any of the three public hearings for establishing the TIF District 8 or for the business subsidy agreements with each of the businesses. The business subsidy agreements are similar for each of the companies. Bluff Country Manufacturing mostly intends to retain the current number of jobs, but may add one additional job. JMS Agronomics plans to create two full time jobs.

Resolutions were unanimously approved establishing TIF District 8 and approving each of the business subsidy agreements.

Board of Appeal and


County Assessor Cynthia Blagsvedt reviewed 2014 assessment changes in Preston and the county. No residents appeared to appeal their estimated market value or classification of their property.

Blagsvedt noted, that with 45 agricultural sales within the county, ag land continued to increase in value last year. However, it appears that ag land values are now stabilizing. The median value for tillable land is now $7,150 per acre. Pasture land increased slightly to $2,700 per acre.

Residential sales in Harmony, Mabel and Peterson required a decrease in value, while residential properties in Preston and Rushford required a value increase. Generally, sale values for homes built prior to 1925 were too high. The city of Chatfield had the required sample of six commercial sales or more, resulting in a five percent value decrease.

Preston has had a minimal increase in total estimated market value of all classifications of property for taxes payable in 2015. The city had a total of $803,300 value due to new construction, including commercial and residential.

Other Business In Brief

•As recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission, two resolutions were adopted to rezone the future home of Preston Dairy and Farm and Gehling Auction which are located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Highway 52 and Highway 16 north of Preston. The properties were recently annexed into the city.

P & Z held public hearings on the rezonings prior to the city council meeting. The 6.15 acres of Preston Dairy and Farm property has been rezoned from R-1 (Agriculture/Residential) to I-1 (Industrial). The 1.86 acres of Gehling Auction property has been rezoned from R-1 (Agriculture/Residential) to B-2 (Highway Commercial).

•Rich Enochs, the new part time program director for the National Trout Center, referred to himself as a retired business professional, as he retired from Winona Canoe five years ago. He noted he has been a fly fisherman for many years and has fished all over the country, adding, “Trout fishing is what I do.” As program coordinator he said, “I can continue to pursue what I love to do and I can bring my business background to bear for fund raising.” Enochs will work as an independent contractor.

Dan Christianson acknowledged that the first quarter has been a little slow for the NTC, but said they did take in a little more cash than they paid out. He admitted that the board may have got a little ahead of itself by hiring a full time program director last year, adding it will take us a little longer to ramp it (NTC) up. George Spangler noted the NTC has conducted six programs so far this year.

•Gary Feine representing a group of retired fire fighters explained their ideas to clean-up the ‘mess’ at Goose Flat Park. Their intention is to eliminate some of the perennials that have not been cared for and that are crowded and overgrown. They want to make the park easy to maintain using some landscape timbers and some rock. The council approved up to $300 to pay for materials or plants. The labor will be free.

•Maintenance of the park and ride area at the fairgrounds was discussed. It was installed some years ago by a cooperative effort of the city, county, and state. City Administrator Joe Hoffman said there is one large crack in the pavement that should be fixed. He said they will have to get together with county staff and report back at another meeting.

•P & Z recommended amending the city’s sign ordinance for residential areas (R-1). The school district has proposed installing an electronic sign. Hoffman said the current language has some pretty strict limitations. A resolution with three changes or additions to the language was approved. Signs can be up to 40 square feet. An additional sign will be permitted when lot frontage exceeds 200 feet in length and an additional sign will be permitted for every 200 feet of lot frontage there after. Signs that flash or scroll can not be operated from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

•Main Street from St. Anthony Street to Houston Street will be closed for the Trout Days Car Show. The alley adjacent to the NTC will be closed at the request of the NTC for Trout Days (May 17 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The county has approved the closure of CSAH 12/17.

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