Mower County to review success of tax abatement program, veterans home

Published 8:35 am Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Mower County Board met on Tuesday morning for its special session and among the topics discussed were the tax abatement program and a possible pledge for a state veterans home in southeast Minnesota.

Tax Abatement Program

About two years ago, the city of Austin and Mower County launched an initiative that moderated property taxes on qualified new single and multi-family housing construction projects. As the tax abatement program is set to expire at the end of 2019, officials plan to review the program and check in on its progress.

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County Coordinator Craig Oscarson believes that the abatement proved to be popular and helped spur economic development within the city, as well as in Mower County. It’s possible that the tax abatement program could be extended, but the county officials would need to deliberate on making a decision to do so, Oscarson advised.

Letter from Preston on state veterans home

During the regular session, Oscarson presented the Mowerå County Board a letter from the city of Preston in Fillmore County. In the letter, the city had requested if Mower County would pledge about $50,000 to put toward the construction of a state veterans home in Preston.

Oscarson recommended to the county commissioners that the request could be discussed at a county board meeting in August. The pledge would be a one-time donation, and the federal government would match the amount from Mower County to put toward construction.

While the proposed state veterans home project would be based in Preston, Mower County would still be able to send veterans to the facility, which would be accessible to a 15-county area. Minnesota had signed off on $10.2 million as a starting point, and the total cost of the project ranged from $32 million to $50 million.

Around 46,000 veterans live in southeast Minnesota, according to news reports.

Final plans for the design of the 72-bed facility needs to be submitted to the state by April 2019.