The Fairmont City Council unanimously approved a 10-year tax abatement for CHS on Monday, but council members stressed that the soybean-processing plant address safety issues caused by semis backed up on the road during peak times and a water flow problem.

Linsey Preuss, Fairmont’s economic development coordinator, told the council that CHS is the city’s highest taxpayer, paying more than $760,000 annually in property taxes. The company, which will continue to pay taxes on the existing property, requested the abatement on $5.3 million of the proposed $100 million capital investment, or $59,000 per year for the city’s share. The Fairmont School Board and Martin County Commissioners still have to act on the abatement request.

Brandon Nordstrom, CHS plant manager in Fairmont, and Tom Malecha, senior vice president of the processing and food ingredients division, told the council that five additional storage buildings will be added and two existing ones will be modified, enabling the plant to increase capacity and processing by 30 percent a year. They estimated the project will be completed by the end of 2021. Malecha, added that the intent is to have the on-site parking area completed within two years. He explained that currently there is overflow parking at the fairgrounds and this area will continue to be used during the peak time in the fall.

Malecha said CHS would work with the county to create the traffic flow and proper turn lanes. He said they will do their best to make sure to get the trucks off the road, but they could not guarantee that there would never be a truck line. The project received support from some community residents.

On a motion by Peters and a second by Hasek, the abatement passed unanimously.

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