October 24, 2014

Lincoln board approves Auburn B&G tax abatement

By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com
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LINCOLN TWP. — The Lincoln Township board approved a request by Auburn Bean & Grain for a tax abatement during a special meeting Thursday, Aug. 23.

According to Supervisor David Hertzberg, the resolution passed by the board establishes the abatement. He said the next step involves the board discussing and passing the actual numerical values for the abatement at a future meeting.

Hertzberg said the township assessor Denise Hall is working with Chris Shannon of the Arenac County Economic Development Corporation to determine what numbers the board should take up.

“We hope to do it at our September meeting if we can get it all done,” Hertzberg said. “The next meeting will be that second step.”

Shannon told the board during its regular meeting on Aug. 9 that Auburn Bean & Grain did not initially plan on asking for a tax abatement, but engineering costs were greater than expected

Hertzberg said the current estimated cost for completion of the facility is approximately $10 million, at least $3 million more than originally expected. He said the major reasons for the cost increase were meeting Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) requirements to adapt US-23 for the facility’s increased traffic with a new turn lane, as well as adding a rail spur to an MDOT rail line for transporting goods.

Other work on the facility’s future location, planned for to be south of Standish city limits on US-23, has continued. Hertzberg said The Arenac County Drain Commission has gone forward with clearing the Hominga drain extension, which will help keep the facility from flooding.

Under the tax abatement, the company would see its tax load reduced by up to 50 percent for up to 12 years. It does not affect the taxable value of the property. The idea behind a tax abatement is to leave a company more money to invest in its business, Shannon said, and it must follow certain guidelines to keep the abatement by doing just that.

In this instance, the abatement would help finance the construction of the facility.

Auburn Bean & Grain President Cliff Vennix plans on having the facility complete by mid-2013, in time to begin transporting harvests. Hertzberg said to meet that deadline, the township and the company are trying to fast track all the paperwork and requirements with the state to get work going.

The facility is planned to help Northern Michigan farmers transport their goods without needing to travel as far, saving them money. According to Shannon, it is also going to include a meeting space for about 100 farmers so the company can host workshops and educational programs on new farming techniques and information.

The Lincoln Township board’s next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 13.

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