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BREAKING NEWS

Kerry agreement with city is definitely win-win

By Staff | Feb 18, 2008

Chuck Hunt – Register Editor



We wonder if our story on the front page of this week’s Register hammers a point home hard enough.

It is the story about the City of Blue Earth and the Kerry facility here signing an agreement. That agreement is welcome news to a lot of people, and it should be welcomed by everyone in this city.

Why?

Well, the major reason is that it firms up the fact that Kerry, and its employment of 200 people in this community is going to be permanent.

When fire ravaged a portion of the plant, and all of the warehouse, that situation was in doubt.

True, Kerry came out quickly and said they were rebuilding and going to keep its people employed. We applaud them for that. But sometimes saying it does not necessarily make it come true.

There were obstacles. And sometimes obstacles are more easily overcome by shutting down and moving the operation to another facility that does not have obstacles.

The city made some concessions to Kerry. They forgave some back tax increment finance money that had not been paid back, not because Kerry was unwilling, but because the source of the funds had changed.

The city agreed to a JOBZ zone for Kerry. It gets a bit complicated, but basically it means Kerry will not pay taxes on the new part of the warehouse until 2015.

In return, the city got Kerry to agree to a lot of items. They are not only going to rebuild here, they are going to expand, and bring in some new equipment as well. They will keep the current employees, and add a few more as well. They will drop a request for tax abatement, and they will help pay for a testing facility.

And in an usual concession, they will also give $35,000 to the Blue Earth Area Schools Foundation over the next five years

But the main item is still this – they agreed to stay here in Blue Earth. And that is big news.

We think that City Administrator Ben Martig, and Mayor Rob Hammond, and EDA President Lonnie Trasamar worked hard on this agreement, and the negotiations with Kerry. We salute them for their hard work and successful efforts.

We also thank Kerry for their confidence in Blue Earth, and their willingness to invest some serious money in the community.

As Mayor Hammond said at the meeting, this was a true example of a win-win situation. We agree.

(Editor’s note: We realize that the official name of Kerry in Blue Earth is “Nuvex Ingredients, Inc. – A Subsidiary of Kerry Holding Co.” But for the purpose of this editorial, and because that is what it is known as locally, we refer to the company as “Kerry.”)