Letter to the Editor: Disappointed by school board’s abatement decision

Published 6:10 pm Friday, March 17, 2023

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In the past I have always been supportive of the Austin Public Schools and will continue my support.  However, I am disappointed in their decision to not support the abatement request from the Hormel company.  I guess I don’t understand their reason for not supporting the request since the company has been such a supporter of the Austin Public Schools.  I could easily count on my eight fingers the monetary and leadership support they have provided to the school system over the years. Do we want them on our side?  YES!  They truly are a “good” neighbor.

I understand the excuse that was used by the board is that they didn’t want to create a precedent as abatements have always in the past gone for housing. My friend Dave Hagen commented that providing housing with a child care center certainly passes mustard as housing.  Providing a new child care center allows new people to move to Austin and purchase housing as there will be affordable childcare available. I cannot believe that any other community in the state would have a school board reject a tax abatement request for a child care center.

I have asked members of the community if they can come up with a viable reason to reject Hormel’s request.  I could not find one individual who supported the Board’s decision.  If the board is as good as I think it is, they will bring the topic back for more discussion and a new vote. 

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I can feel it in my bones. The future is that we’re on the cusp of growing and becoming a significant center of innovation. Thanks to the  leadership of the Hormel Foundation, the Hormel company, the Austin City Council and Mower County Commissioners for moving us forward into that  future.

Roger Boughton

Austin, MN