Quiet public hearing on industrial tax exemption

Aside from media, only two members of the public were at a public hearing Monday on a proposed ordinance enacting a tax exemption on value added to industrial property and cattle facilities.

Included would be value added to cattle facilities, either through new construction or retrofitting existing facilities; new construction on industrial real estate, research-service facilities, warehouses and distribution center; and value added by the acquisition of or improvement to machinery and equipment assesses as real estate.

The proposed ordinance calls for a 75 percent exemption the first year, a 60 percent exemption the second year, a 45 percent exemption the third year, a 30 percent exemption the fourth year, and a 15 percent exemption the fifth year.

Lee Sloan of Jefferson, who attends most board meetings during the months he is not snowbirding, and Chuck Offenburger were at the public hearing.

Offenburger commented in support of the ordinance. “The cattle industry is just as important as any other industry, if not more important. It can build financial well-being into this county in very quick ways… There are new methods and new techniques being used in the cattle industry. If those are coming into play for our cattle producers and they have the opportunity to expand and improve their facilities… I think it’s a good thing for the county to be behind that,” he said.

He said there could be “huge payoffs for everybody in the county” in supporting economic development.

He also mentioned recent growth. “We’ve just gone a period of economic development that has boggled all our minds. We’ve been staggered by the investment in our county by outsiders, from Wild Rose to Hy-Vee to McFarland Clinic to the hospital…. tremendous investment in Greene County by outside interests. I really think that sets a high bar for us.

“Now is not the time to sit back and say ‘we can do it on outside money. We don’t have to cut taxes. We don’t have to incent businesses….’ What we really want to do here is not short term. It’s long term, and that’s growth, in population, in economic growth, in our schools,” Offenburger said.

“I think this is an important proposal… I hope you’ll use it in times going forward to help promote more growth than we’re already seeing in this county,” he added.

First, second and third readings of the ordinance will be held next month.

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