Kay Hanson bids farewell to West Concord
Claremont City Council and EDA members got a look at the expansion plans for the Al-Corn plant. This as they consider a tax abatement or alternatively tax incremental financing to help with the expansion that includes the widening of 5th Street.
The council also agreed to work with the engineering firm of Bolton Menk to determine the costs involved in widening 5th Street.
“This is a very large project,” Al-Corn CEO Randy Doyal told council members. The project is estimated to cost $146,000,000. The project is expected to create approximately $10 to $14 million in new tax base with about half of that amount within the Claremont City limits. It will also create eight to 15 full time equivalent jobs.
It will involve significant expansion of the railroad tracks at the property with the new track system encircling the plant, Doyal said, and include new construction and modernization at the site. The plans include a new grain handling system with steel grain bins and concrete for distiller’s grain. There will be a new row of fermenters, Doyal said, and a new building housing the distillation process.
The company has applied for an air permit from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and will begin construction as soon as that permit is issued. If the permit could be issued by September, Doyal said, work could begin this fall with construction completed in 16 to 18 months.
Doyal said that during the course of the construction he estimated there would be a total of 12 to 14 days of downtime for the plant but they would not be consecutive days.
The primary impact to Claremont city services and infrastructure, City EDA advisor Tom Monson said, will be an upgrade to 5th Street leading to the plant. Doyal said Al-Corn would be adding another fire water tank and he did not think the expansion would require anything additional from the Claremont Fire Department.
The company anticipates that increased volume at the plant will result in two-and-a-half times more trucks coming to the plant and that will necessitate upgrading the roadway. A city tax abatement would target the financing of the road construction.
There was some discussion among the council members whether a tax abatement would be the best way to proceed or if the city should consider some alternate method such as TIF.
City Financial Consultant Mike Bubany reminded council members that the city is limited to $200,000 for tax abatements and that the city already has approved tax abatements bringing the available total down to $185,000.
That prompted Councilmember Michelle Welch to comment that if the city uses all the available abatement money to help Al-Corn there will be no funds available to any other businesses that may want to request assistance.