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Corn Plus taxes reduced

By Staff | Aug 16, 2010

Brian Roverud

The city of Winnebago and Faribault County have struck a deal with Corn Plus to halt the ethanol producer’s tax litigation case.

County Attor-ney Brian Roverud and County Assessor Sue Wiltse met with the Winnebago City Council in closed-session Tuesday night to update them on the latest development.

Roverud says a “verbal” agreement has been reached and it is acceptable to the City Council and county board.

“We’re still negotiating. I don’t want to get into any details until we get everything reduced to writing,” says Roverud.

The written agreement is expected to be completed in the next 30 days.`

County officials have been negotiating with Corn Plus the past two-and-a-half years.

The company has filed a petition with the Minnesota State Tax Court appealing property taxes paid for 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Despite filing a tax appeal, Corn Plus has paid taxes of $102,804 for 2007; $105,804 for 2008; and half of the $108,464 owed for 2009.

The company would be refunded the difference between what has been paid the the amount negotiated.

Under the proposed settlement, the school district stand to lose the least and Winnebago the most.

Wiltse says Winnebago officials have the authority to levy for any tax dollars that will be lost.

In other business:

• Council members authorized Bolton & Menk to prepare designs and specifications for renovation for the wastewater treatment facility.

The project is estimated to cost $2.3 million.

Wes Brown of Bolton & Menk told the council the city is listed 70th among the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s 110 projects considered in the fundable range.

While the city has requested $2.3 million, Brown says cost of the project may be closed to $2.1 million.

• City Administrator Austin Bleess informed the council he plans to submit a proposed 2011 budget and levy at the Sept. 14 meeting. Under state law, the propose budget and levy must be adopted before Set. 15.

Bleess says he has been meeting with department heads to develop a preliminary budget.

He says the budget will be discussed at the Oct. 12 and Nov. 9 council meetings.

Bleess encourages residents with any questions to contact City Hall.

A final budget and levy is expected to be determined at the Dec. 14 council meeting.