Funding approved for fiber optic, library

With all members present, the Rock County Commissioners finalized funding for the county’s portion of the fiber optic project and upcoming library remodel project.

The commissioners’ unanimous agreement at Tuesday’s meeting concluded the tax abatement discussion that began two weeks ago at the commissioners’ May 5 meeting.

The May 5th meeting began with a tax abatement hearing that sought input on financing the county’s $1 million share of the more than $14 million fiber optic network project.

Work has started by project partner Alliance Communications of Garretson, South Dakota.

When completed in the fall of 2016, the network will provide Internet access to the unserved and underserved areas in Rock County.

No one from the public attended the public hearing or supplied written comments.

Commissioners supported paying their share of the project using the tax abatement process.

The abatement will be for up to 20 years and apply to taxes payable in 2016 through 2036.

The county’s share of taxes from six land parcels will go directly to the project’s loan repayment instead of into the county’s general fund.

Because the city of Luverne, Martin Township, Luverne and Hills-Beaver Creek school districts declined participation in the tax abatement, the county gained an extra five years on the loan repayment schedule.

Six parcels, totaling more than $1.6 million in value, were identified for the proposal.

Those parcels and the addresses include: Agri-Energy, 502 Walnut Ave.; Grandstay Hotel and Suites, 908 Kniss Ave.; New Vision Co-op, 521 41st St.; Good Samaritan Center, 201 and 203 Oak Dr.; Glen’s Food Center, 205 Warren St.; and Papik Motors, 801 Commerce Road.

George Eilertson from Northland Securities of Minneapolis said his company would handle the $1.225 million sale of general obligation bonds scheduled for June 1.

Currently included in the bond sale is $175,000 earmarked for capital improvements at the Rock County Community Library.

However, commissioners tabled a formal decision to include the library project in the final bond amount until all the commissioners were present for the vote.

A final decision was scheduled for the May 19 meeting.

At Tuesday’s meeting Commissioner Boyenga made the motion to include the library remodel with the fiber optic project through the tax abatement process.

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