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Kandiyohi County sets hearings on three tax abatement requests

WILLMAR — The Kandiyohi County Commissioners set public hearings for May 7 to take testimony on requests for tax abatement from three separate businesses.

The unusual number of requests reflects a “resurgence’ in local economic development, said Steve Renquist, director of the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission.

Renquist presented the requests to the county board, including a proposal for Torgerson Properties, which includes the Willmar Holiday Inn and Conference Center. The Willmar City Council approved the abatement on Monday. The County took no action other than to set a hearing to take public testimony.

The request for a 10-year abatement would be only on new taxes created by the facility’s $12 million expansion. The company would continue to pay their current property taxes in full.

According to Renquist, 100 percent of the new taxes would be returned for the five first years; 75 percent would be returned for the next three years and 50 percent for the last two years. For the county, that would mean returning $39,700 in years 1-5; $29,775 for the next three years; and $19,850 for the final stint, for a total of $327,525 over the 10-year period.

“It’s a lot of money, but they’re spending a lot of money,” said Renquist. “This is over and above the taxes they’re paying right now.” The project is expected to add 25 jobs, which Renquist said would have an economic “bounce-back” for the county.

Two new business owners in the small town of Sunburg are also requesting tax abatement to off-set improvements to commercial buildings they recently purchased.

One abatement is for Sondrol Service Station — the town’s only gas station that has changed hands and is undergoing renovations — and the other is for the former grocery store that was purchased with the goal of being divided into small shops under the name of the Sunburg Trading Post.

The city of Sunburg has approved 100 percent abatement for 10 years on the new city tax revenue for both buildings. The county is being asked to approve a five-year abatement on the new revenue. The total cost to the county five-year forgiveness would be $640 for the gas station and $1,552 for the Trading Post.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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