Martin County Commissioners on Tuesday heard from several employees of CHS Inc. who were present to discuss the details of their proposed $100 million project at the Fairmont site and to request a tax abatement from the county.
The abatement is being proposed to be for up to 10 years beginning with real estate taxes payable in 2022 and continuing through 2031, inclusive and shall not exceed $423,930. If the abatement is approved, construction would start this fall and is expected to be completed by fall 2021. The project is due to the fact that they need to replace old equipment with newer, more efficient and larger equipment. The larger equipment won’t fit into the space they currently have which is why they need to expand.
Several residents that live near the plant were present and expressed concerns, saying that trucks are already blocking them in and with a 30 percent increase, they fear that the issue will only get worse. Kevin Peyman, County Highway Engineer, brought up that the heavy trucks coming and going throughout the day have put a lot of strain on the county roads. Commissioner Elliot Belgard also expressed concern for the tanker trucks that drive through Truman on their way to Mankato, because they don’t slow down to go the 30 mph speed limit. Some concern was also expressed about the outflow of water from the plant affecting nearby properties.
County Assessor Mike Sheplee shared that while the investment is $100 million, the taxable part of that is approximately $5.3 million in new taxable value.
Tom Malecha, senior vice president of processing and food ingredients at CHS said “Obviously there’s some issues on all sides, but we have been a good steward to the community. We donate to the city, to the pork producers and we’ve always been very supportive of growing the economy,We’ve been here for 18 years and we intend, with this project, to be here longer. I think you’ll see that the value we bring to the community is much greater than the tax abatement that we’re asking for”.
A public hearing on the matter will be held at 10 a.m. on Sept. 3 in the county commissioners meeting room.