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Taxes would be frozen at 2013 value

Torgerson Properties has said a project slated to begin this spring at the Holiday Inn/Comfort Inn complex in Willmar will add 30 jobs. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

WILLMAR — If Torgerson Properties’ request for a tax abatement is approved, the company’s property tax would be frozen at the 2013 value of $110,362 a year during the period.

Bruce Peterson, planning and development director estimated the abated portion of the property tax at about $23,000 per year, or about $230,000, over the proposed 10-year period. The abated portion represents the increased value of the property.

The city’s 2013 property tax levy is $4,139,734.

The council approved the recommendation of the Community Development Committee to set April 15 for a hearing to consider the abatement.

Peterson said the city and any other taxing jurisdiction involved in the abatement will continue to receive taxes at the current 2013 value. He said Kandiyohi County will be asked to participate in the abatement.

Peterson said state statute gives the taxing jurisdiction broad discretion in reviewing, evaluating and granting or denying tax abatements.

“It’s important in tax abatements that you retain the discretion afforded by statute and that you have tremendous flexibility in granting projects,’’ said Peterson.

Council member Rick Fagerlie, who supports the abatement, told the council that Torgerson is competing for convention business with Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel near Morton and Prairie’s Edge Casino Resort near Granite Falls, which have done or are doing renovation projects.

“They’re bringing more beds in, more rooms so we can do a bigger convention or national (curling) tournament. I think it’s pretty awesome,’’ Fagerlie said.

He noted the council granted an abatement for MinnWest Technology Campus, totaling about $32,000 a year, which is working well and expires in 2016. He said other abatements (Gurley’s Foods, West Central Steel and Northern Factory Sales) worked out well and will expire in the next two years.

Council member Denis Anderson said the city would not be taking dollars off the tax rolls and he said the project “seems like a pretty good deal to me.’’

Council member Tim Johnson wanted the public to understand that Torgerson’s taxes would be frozen at the current level. But he said future city levies could be increased, if the city needed those extra funds, to make up for some of that reduction in taxes, and would be distributed among the other properties within the taxing jurisdiction to make up difference for what’s being given up in the abatement.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150