'County will reap lion's share of the benefit'
The Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors granted a 20-year tax abatement to Raccoon Valley Biodiesel to help the soon-to-be constructed business that will provide 30 or more employees, a $1.5 million annual payroll and new taxable property value.
The Raccoon Valley Biodiesel group had asked the supervisors at a recent meeting to consider a 100 percent abatement for 10 years, a 75 percent abatement for five years and a 50 percent abatement for five years.
Last fall the supervisors granted the ethanol plant in Albert City a 20-year abatement in the increments of 100 percent at 15 years and 50 percent for the final five years.
President of the Biodiesel group Dale Arends said his group was careful not to ask for the same "deal" as the ethanol plant personnel.
"This is, and has always been, a county project," Arends said to the supervisors as they pondered their vote. "The bulk of the jobs will come from Buena Vista County. It has always been our intention to be good neighbors."
He added, "The scope of this project is going to be many times what the potential tax would be if you collected it all. The county will reap the lion's share of the benefit."
Biodiesel fuel is an alternative to petroleum-based diesel fuels, is nontoxic and is produced from vegetable oils and animal fats, including soybean oils.
The biodiesel plant , which will be located at the interchange of Lake and Highway 71, is expected to produce 42 million gallons of biodiesel as well as 40 million pounds of glycerin.
Plant construction is set to begin in September with production to get underway next August.
The first-year of the construction phase is expected to cost $29.6 million and include 204 construction jobs with a yearly wage of $8.4 million.
"We're very pleased with the decision," Arends said following the vote of the four board members present. "In the early years of any new company there are operating difficulties. This (tax break) will keep our operating costs lower so we can get our feet under us."