City plans hearing for Preferred Powder Coating TIF

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

A public hearing is tentatively set for Tuesday, Sept. 3 to consider a tax-increment-financing (TIF) package designed to help a Rogers business relocate to Elk River.

The Elk River City Council will host the hearing to consider establishing a TIF district. The city had earlier endorsed a tax abatement business subsidy for Preferred Powder Coating, but had to switch to TIF instead after the tax abatement package unraveled in a split vote by the Sherburne County Board.

The county board had voted 3-2 Aug. 13 to approve $400,000 in tax abatement for the business, which was $176,939 less than requested.   Commissioners John Riebel, Ewald Petersen and Felix Schmiesing favored the $400,000 abatement; commissioners Rachel Leonard and Bruce Anderson supported the $576,939 amount.

The City Council had approved $576,939 in tax abatement for Preferred Powder Coating in July.

Clay Wilfahrt, Elk River’s assistant director of economic development, told the City Council Aug. 19 that the combined city-county tax abatement of $976,939 is not enough to enable the project to proceed.

TIF, however, would “provide the necessary amount of funding to support the project,” he said.  An independent financial analysis was conducted earlier by Springsted Inc.

Preferred Powder Coating plans to build a 100,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Elk River’s new Nature’s Edge Business Center, located near Highway 10 and 171st Avenue.

Mayor John Dietz said it was “regrettable” that the business didn’t get the full tax abatement it needed.

“There’s plenty of things I could say about this but I just want to move forward,” Dietz said. “We’re holding up a client trying to build a building in Elk River. We need to do whatever we’ve got to do to make this happen.”