8/23/2019 3:38:00 PM Cass County Board: Committee to draft new policy on tax abatements
MONICA LUNDQUIST Cass County Correspondent
THUNDER LAKE TOWNSHIP -- A new Cass County committee will draft a county policy on tax abatements before the county board will decide whether to grant an abatement to a business at Pine River.
There have been city-approved tax increment financing districts in the county previously, but the county never before has granted a property tax abatement to a new or expanding business.
Tuesday, Aug. 20, the board decided it should have guidelines in a policy to help them decide whether a proposal should or should not be approved.
Appointed to the committee to draft a policy are commissioners Bob Kangas and Scott Bruns, Administrator Joshua Stevenson, Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane, Assessor Mark Peterson, Economic Development Director Mike Paulus and county citizen budget committee member and businessman Kevin Krueger.
Once the policy is drafted, the county board will decide whether to host a public hearing before voting on whether to adopt it.
The abatement proposed Aug. 20 is for a joint venture by Voyager Industries of Brandon, Minnesota, a Pine River property owner and business owner of Black Line Conversions.
Voyager would manufacture fish houses and high-end horse trailers. Interior finishing would then be done at the proposed Pine River plant. Owners Jon Boutain of Voyager and Micah and Chelsea Eveland of Black Line say they expect to hire 26 to 35 employees if the new facility is built.
They are asking to have 100 percent of new taxes waived the first two years of their operation, or an estimated $22,394 each year. The third year, they asked for a 75 percent abatement or an estimated $16,795. The fourth year they asked for a 50 percent abatement or an estimated $11,197. The fifth year they asked for a 25 percent abatement or an estimated $5,598.
This would mean an estimated $56,908 less paid to the city of Pine River over the five years, $17,580 less paid to the county and $3,891 less paid to Pine River-Backus Schools.
Second publication rights after Brainerd Dispatch.