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POET Biorefining TIF decertified

Fri, Aug 8th, 2008
Posted in Government

PRESTON - The Preston City Council approved a resolution decertifying the ethanol plant Tax Increment Financing District (TIF) at their August 4 meeting.  City Administrator Joe Hoffman explained that the TIF was to run out on December 31, 2007, but had been extended one year in 2004.  He noted that the project would never have been built without the TIF District which has ran for the last ten years.  All the related bonds and obligations have been paid or voided.  The TIF decertification will be effective December 31, 2008.

In a discussion involving the 2009 budget, Hoffman said that the ethanol plant property is valued at $5,155,500 which will be a significant portion of the city tax base.  The city portion of property taxes on the plant could be as much as $70,000 in 2009.  Hoffman questioned whether the money should be used to increase the funding for street improvements.  The city now puts aside $60,000 per year for streets.  Inflation affecting asphalt and cement has been escalating the cost of street maintenance and reconstruction.

Hoffman added that if the increased tax base from the ethanol plant were absorbed into the city's levy, it would be significant, but less so to the individual home owner.  Councilman Jon Haugan asked if it would offset some of the property owner's assessment.  Mayor Kurt Reicks said that it would be tough to go back and it would be unfair to change assessment rates in the future to those who are paying the current rates.  Councilman Heath Mensink stated that adding the money to the street fund would double the fund with little or no increase to tax payers.

Hoffman offered to bring a couple of different scenarios to the council when the budget is prepared.  He added that the Local Government Aid (LGA) for 2009 will be increased by $15,000.

No Parking Zone

Joe Hoffman detailed the need for a No Parking Zone on Fridays at the intersection of Pleasant Street to 125 feet east (one-half block) on the 200 block of North Street NE to allow the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to conduct motorcycle road tests.  He maintained that without a formal No Parking Zone, the city is unable to enforce the no parking.  Haugan asked if the homeowners had been notified.  Hoffman said that they had not.  Reicks suggested that the no parking would only need to be from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM.  Mensink added that it would only have to be from March through October.  No decision was made.  More information about the time period is needed plus homeowners are to be contacted.

Other Business

• The Preston Serviceman's Club was issued a temporary liquor license for the benefit of a cancer patient to be held at the Preston Ball Park on September 7.

• The second council meeting for the month will be held on August 25.

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