Commission approves PILOT for Walsh County Grain Terminal
$1.3 million paving project to start in spring
GRAFTON – Park River Mayor Dan Stenvold addressed the Walsh County Commissioners Tuesday, asking for help in paving the more than one mile stretch of road from Highway 17 south to the new Walsh County Grain Terminal.
Stenvold told the commissioners that since the elevator opened late in 2012, they have been losing money because of the condition of the gravel road.
“We have between three and four hundred semis traveling that road everyday and we can’t keep it smooth,” he said.
Stenvold said because of the severe washboard condition of the road trucks have been hauling their grain to the elevator in Crystal instead.
“We’d rather see them dumping grain in Park River instead of Crystal,” commissioner Ernie Barta commented during discussion of the matter.
As a solution, Stenvold proposed a 10-year, Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement that would come up the $1.35 million for the paving project. The Park River School District approved the 10-year PILOT plan last week.
The City of Park River will sell bonds for the cost of the project and pay back more than $157,000 per year for 10 years.
The money for the payment will come from what the county and Park River School District would normally receive through their mill levy on taxes for the building and property.
When the bond is paid off in 10 years, the property will be taxed as real estate. The agreement becomes effective immediately for the 2013 tax cycle.
Luther Meberg made the motion to approve the PILOT program. It was seconded by Karen Anderson and passed unanimously.
In other business the commission
• Was informed by Walsh County Highway Superintendent Sharon Lipsh that the county will receive $1.12 million in state highway distribution funds. The one-time allocation as the result of Senate Bill 2176 that was fast-tracked earlier in the legislative session and was signed by Governor Jack Dalrymple. That will be in addition to the more than $1.4 million the county is projected to receive in their regular yearly distribution of those funds.
The commissioners also authorized Lipsh to draw up a five-year road and bridge construction plan for the county.
• Unanimously passed a motion to continue the county’s Discovery flex benefits program. Currently 30 county employees take advantage of the program, flexing $62,000 per year. The program allows pre-tax money to be used for various medical and day care expenses.
• Were informed that five people have applied for the deputy auditor position. The commissioners scheduled interviews for Feb. 21.