Rebuilding, repaving and recovering in Douglas CountyRebuilding Recycled Plastics in Garfield, a new speed limit in Osakis, paving the Services Center parking areas and recovering money were discussed at last week's county board meeting.
By: Crystal Dey, Alexandria Echo Press
Recycled Plastics is ready to rebuild in Garfield. The city of Garfield requested Douglas County commissioners waive the customary right to a 30-day advance public hearing notice on the company’s tax increment financing (TIF) request so the project can get under way.
“They want to break ground yet this fall,” said Char Rosenow, Douglas County auditor/treasurer.
Rosenow explained during the September 25 commissioners’ meeting that Reprocessed Plastics Inc.’s (RPI) request will speed up the process.
Commissioner Dan Olson seconded the motion made by Norm Salto to approve the request, stating that it will bring jobs back into the area. The request was unanimously approved. The city of Garfield will hold a public hearing on Monday, October 8.
In March, the main RPI building caught fire, leaving an empty 17,000-square foot imprint where the structure once stood on County Road 82. RPI moved operations into a building on the property approximately half the size of the original in April. Damages were estimated at more than $2 million.
RPI is proposing to modify the existing municipal development district and establish a new TIF district in order to rebuild. Redevelopment could not occur without the public assistance of a TIF district, according to the company.
Documents prepared by David Drown Associates, a firm working with the city of Garfield, state that no other development is expected to occur on the site where the building burned. A market value analysis estimated the site at $41,602 without TIF. Increased market value of the site is anticipated to be $265,900.
Estimated tax increment revenues would total $68,781, of which $50,213 would be used for site improvements and $6,878 for administrative costs. Financing costs are predicted at $11,850; $11,690 being interest expenses.
Tax increment values will increase at 3.5 percent through 2022 if the TIF district is granted.
RPI, also called Recycled Plastics, is a company that produces recycled plastic sheets and products that are used in manufacturing. More information on the company can be found at www.gipo-rpi.com.
HITTING THE PAVEMENT
Speeders beware. A new speed limit has been approved for County Highway 3 between State Highway 27 and the Central Lakes Trail in Osakis. Previously zoned for 40 miles per hour, commissioners have approved a reduction to 30 miles an hour. It is within the commissioners’ jurisdiction to make such a change since the area entering town is defined as an urban district.
Changes have also been taking shape on the pavement at the Douglas County Services Center in Alexandria.
A contract was awarded to Mark Lee Asphalt and Paving Inc. to remove and repave the library and law enforcement center parking areas. The company bid $61,584 for the library project and $22,450 for the law enforcement center work. Central Specialties, Inc. also bid on the project; $93,369 for the library and $28,809 for the law enforcement center.
Inmates who were incarcerated in the Douglas County jail between 2008 and 2010 who had a positive balance in their accounts of more than $25 upon their release were mailed letters informing them if they do not claim the cash, it will be forfeited. The checks total $441.25.
Another $475.33 in checks that were less than $25 will be written off and submitted to the county as revenue. Inmates who received letters were given 10 days to respond.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office received two donations. Thomas and Barbara McLeod gave an unrestricted $100. Runestone Electric Association’s Operation Roundup donated $500, which the jail will use to purchase a defibrillator.
Commissioners also approved a Minnesota Department of Public Safety grant for the sheriff’s office. The $14,661 emergency management performance grant, with an equal amount matching requirement, will be used to offset salaries and expenses associated with emergency management.
In February, Douglas County joined the Central Minnesota Emergency Services Board (CMNESB) regional logger project. The project allies the county with 11 partners in the region who share services and equipment to improve public safety efforts.
Sheriff Troy Wolbersen updated commissioners on progress of that partnership. Without consolidating with the CMNESB, the county would have paid $167,000 for dispatch recording equipment.
“With this project, it will be $13,084.28,” Wolbersen said. When programming and maintenance costs are added, the total could reach $25,000.
Eighty-seven counties in Minnesota are being represented by one man in a federal lawsuit against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The lawsuit, filed on August 24, 2012, aims to recover deed transfer taxes owed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for real estate sold during the past 6.5 years. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac claim they are exempt from paying this tax.
Douglas County attorney Chad Larson encouraged commissioners to allow Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman to represent Douglas County; commissioners agreed.
“I don’t see a downside,” Larson said. “If we win, Douglas County will be entitled to compensation… If we lose, Douglas County pays nothing.”
Douglas County would be responsible for paying its proportional share of costs and attorney fees up to 10 percent of the amount recovered through the lawsuit.