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City Commission: Cargill receives property tax exemption

Following a public hearing, West Fargo City Commissioners unanimously approved a request Monday night from Cargill for a 10-year property tax exemption for a project that will include construction of two steel-framed buildings and new processing equipment that will increase production and capacity from 350,000 metric tons to 500,000 metric tons annually. The value of the new structures when completed will be approximately $14 million, with the exemption based on that amount.

The additions will take place on an unplatted 41.76 acre annex located at 250 7th Ave. N.E.

The motion included granting the exemption at 100 percent for years one through five; 75 percent for years six and seven; 50 percent for years 8 and 9; and 25 percent for year ten.

The Cargill plant is 30 years old and in need of improvements. Originally the plant processed only sunflowers, but other processes have been added over the year including flax and canola, as well as more refining, bleaching and deodorizing. The plant currently employees 83 individuals, operating on a 24/7 basis.

Ground is expected to be broken for the project next spring, with a 2013 completion date.

In other action, the commission:

-approved a conditional use request form Jayson Brunette for an accessory building in a agricultural district at 1505 9th St. N.W., east of the West Fargo airport, south of 19th Ave. N.W. and west of the Sheyenne River within the city's extraterritorial jurisdiction. Since the 8.35 acre parcel is zoned agricultural and is a lot of record, a conditional use permit is required to construct an accessory building for non-farm single family uses. The 42x72 square foot structure will replace a building that collapsed last year and will be used for storage of equipment, and perhaps a shelter for horses.

-okayed the 2012 Mosquito Control Agreement formalizing the partnership for mosquito control between the city of West Fargo and Cass County Government. The agreement is different than prior years in that it caps the city of West Fargo's commitment at $60,000, and also gives city officials the right to request the type of spraying they want. The city spent $105,000 last year for mosquito efforts, with aerial applications billed at $20,000 each. The city presently charges a $.50 fee on the utility bill

for vector control that generates the $60,000. If the city decides they would like to increase this amount, an ordinance change would be required;

-favored the job description for the Director of Economic Development and Community Services, agreeing that extra emphasis needed to be placed on nurturing relationships with existing businesses, in addition to new business retention and expansion;

-approved the Mass Transit Agreement with the city of Fargo for both regular and paratransit bus service within the city limits of West Fargo. Cost of the arrangement is $8,420 per month, with the West Fargo bus fare the same as that charged Fargo bus service passengers. West Fargo will also pay Fargo $14.40 per ride for paratransit service taken by a West Fargo resident, except for those that are paid at an agency rate or those rides that are paid by Medicaid. The fees are a slight increase over last year.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 5 in the Commission Chambers at West Fargo City Hall, 800 4th Ave. E. All meetings are open to the public.