County sets date for public hearing on McNeilus

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 22, 2002

Job retention as well as the creation of new jobs is an ongoing priority of the Mower County Board of Commissioners.

That's what David Hillier, 3rd District Mower County Commissioner, said Wednesday night.

"Keeping our young people at home and working is a priority," Hillier said.

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Then, the county commissioners took the first steps in doing that for Mower County.

The Mower County Board of Commissioners set a pubic hearing for adopting a business subsidy for a new industry at Dexter.

The hearing will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10, in the commissioners' meeting room at the government center in downtown Austin.

Earlier Wednesday night, the county commissioners formally adopted specific criteria for awarding business subsidies. This is required by state law and calls for details from the prospective business on job creation, wages and benefits for employees and other information before a subsidy can be granted.

George Brophy, president and CEO of the Development Corporation of Austin, has requested a loan from Mower County in the amount of $2.5 million to assist McNeilus Companies of Dodge Center construct a plant near the Mill Inn motel and Windmill truck stop near Dexter. The 52,000 square foot building on 10 acres of land would be located near the intersection of Interstate 90 and Minnesota Highway 16.

According to Brophy's request, the DCA will lease the building to McNeilus Companies. The loan will be repaid from rental payments made by McNeilus Companies to the DCA.

The city of Dexter has pledged to make utility improvements to the site, which is located in a Tax Increment Financing district created by the community. The improvements include construction of a new water tower and extension of services to the proposed industrial site.

The Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development also is expected to be a financial contributor toward the project.

Brophy estimated between five to 12 jobs would be created if McNeilus Companies uses the facility only as a distribution center. If it becomes a manufacturing facility, as many as 50 or more jobs could be created, according to Brophy.

In his letter-request to the county commissioners, Brophy estimated the annual property and education tax will be enhanced $47,477 by the project. Of that amount, $33,360 would go to the local property tax and the remaining $14,117 will be committed to the newly-created state education tax.

The estimated market value of the property following the development would be $155,000, according to figures supplies by the Mower County Assessor.

The city of Dexter's role involves a new 100,000 gallon water tank as well as street and sewer extension. No cost estimates for those improvements were available.

Both the new policy on the criteria for awarding a business subsidy and the public hearing date were approved by all five county commissioners president at Wednesday night's special meeting.

Lee Bonorden can be contacted at 434-2232 or by e-mail at