Tax issues have occupied the attention of the Cass County Board at recent meetings.

In August, Gary Suckow of Voyager Industries Inc., requested a tax abatement for  a joint venture between Voyager Industries of Brandon and Black Line LLC of Pine River, to build a 30,000 square foot facility near Pine River to build Yetti fish houses.

The initial investment for land and structure is more than $1.3 million. The new venture could employ 25 to 35 people from the area at anywhere from $15 to $22 an hour with benefits.

The requested tax abatement would allow Voyager/Black Line to create a five year schedule with no taxes paid the first two years. After that, the third, fourth and fifth year payments would be reduced by 75, 50, and 25 percent respectively. In the sixth year and beyond they would pay the full amount.

New tax abatement policy

The new policy, presented at the Sept. 3 board meeting, states that all abatement requests will have to meet minimum requirements to qualify with, “such duration and amount limits [that] shall be for the minimum amount necessary to meet the financial goals of the project...

The benefits to the County must be at least [be] equal to the costs of the abatement or the abatement will be used to phase in a property tax increase and the County finds that the abatement will be in the public interest because it will accomplish at least one of the following purposes:

• Increase or preserve the tax base

• Provide employment opportunities within the political subdivisions

• Provide or help acquire or construct public facilities

• Help redevelop or renew blighted areas

• Help provide access to services for residents of the political subdivision

• Finance or provide public infrastructure; or

• Phase in a property tax increase of the parcel resulting from an increase of 50-percent or more in one year on established market value of the parcel, other than increase attributable to improvement made to the parcel.

• Cass County will not support tax abatement for proposals that are not economically feasible

• No property tax abatement agreements shall be allowed that provides for abatement of taxes on a parcel if the abatement will occur while the parcel is located in a tax increment financing district

    For the full tax abatement policy visit the Cass County website. www.co.cass.mn.us

Public hearing scheduled

As a stipulation of the new tax abatement policy, there will be a public hearing Oct. 1 at 9 a.m. at the Cass County Courthouse to publicly discuss the proposed tax abatement. The public hearing will precede the regular board meeting for anyone interested in attending.  

Preliminary Tax Levy Process

 The Cass County Citizen Budget Committee met Aug. 16 to recommend a 2020 preliminary levy to the County Board. The initial request is 7.59 percent higher than the levy that was approved from last year. The County Board set a limit for the final levy of 3.4 percent as a maximum increase with a goal of 3 percent being the main focus.

There will be a public hearing Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. at the Cass County Courthouse for anyone that wants to attend and discuss the levy.

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