County lists Top 10 property taxpayers

By Sara Quam

The Rock County Auditor-Treasurer's Office completed property tax receipts for the 2001 taxes, the first half of which was due May 15 for 2001.

The Star Herald is printing a list of the 10 who paid the most.

County Auditor-Treasurer Margaret Cook said that some entities may pay more than the listed Top 10 but aren't accounted for here because they may own property in different names. The assessor decides how properties are tied together.

#1, Agri-Energy, LLC - $193,795

The Luverne ethanol plant has been on the west edge of town since 1998 and also paid the most taxes in 2000. The plant is operated by CORN-er Stone Cooperative, which is comprised of about 200 farmer investors in the tri-state area.

#2, Interstate Power - $119,080

This major electrical supplier is taxed on properties, such as towers and transformers, that occupy land in Rock County. This equipment is assessed at market value and taxed accordingly.

#3, SWMN Farmers

Co-op - $61,024

The Southwest Minnesota Farmers Co-op buys and sells grains, grinds and mixes fees and has a full-service agronomy department. The Co-op is made up of elevators in Luverne, Magnolia, Kenneth and Kanaranzi.

#4, Minnkota Farmers

Co-op - $60,170

The concrete grain structure in Jasper has been known as Minnkota Farm Co-op since the local operation merged with Baltic, S.D., five years ago.

#5, Eagle Broadcasting Inc. - $54,984.64

The company is owned by Grand Forks, N.D., brothers Troy and Todd Ramage. In addition to a number of cable television franchises, they also own motels in several states. They own the Comfort Inn and Super 8 motels.

#6, Christensen Corporation - $52,816

Virgil Christensen, Luverne developer, was instrumental in building several Luverne structures, including the Medical Center and the old and new Pamida buildings.

The Christensen Corporation is listed as the owner of these properties, but most are leased to other entities who likely end up paying the taxes.

#7, Tri-State Insurance Co. - $46,678

The property-casualty insurance company has operated in Luverne since 1902. Future plans for the 33,000-square-foot building are unknown as the company announced last year it was relocating to Sioux Falls. No movement has yet started, however.

#8, Luverne Economic Development Authority - $43,500

The LEDA, by nature of its purpose to promote economic development, owns numerous properties in Luverne, both commercial and residential.

#9, Burlington Northern - $40,516

The major railroad company makes the Top 10 list primarily due to right-of-way property it owns along the rail lines. It also has equipment and other taxable properties.

# 10, Cargill, Inc. - $39,049.94

The Cargill grain elevator has been operating near Hills for the past 11 years.

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