Manufacturer inquires about tax breaks

News editor

Rolland Boesker of Burns asked county commissioners about possible tax breaks for a proposed manufacturing business.

Ridder Industries wants to manufacture equipment to convert water into hydrogen gas, which has industrial uses and can be used as an alternative fuel. The company, based in Burns, is considering Burns and Florence as possible locations.

Commissioners told Boesker about the county’s neighborhood revitalization program. Ridder Industries built a new building or expanded an existing one, it could apply for a five-year rebate of property taxes on the difference between the original and new value.

Boesker said he hadn’t spoken with County Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman, so commissioners suggested he speak with her about other economic development programs.

If the business opens in the city limits of Burns or Florence, the cities might be able to offer assistance, as well.

Settlement agreement signed

Commission Chairman Randy Dallke signed an agreement to settle a lawsuit about vehicle damage. Commissioners had discussed the settlement in a previous meeting with County Attorney Susan Robson in closed session.

After the meeting, County Clerk Tina Spencer said the damage had occurred during construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The pipeline company was a co-defendant in the lawsuit.

Insurance covered the settlement, except for the county’s deductible and the filing fee.

Decision on appraiser coming May 28

Commissioners said they will make a decision on whether to renew County Appraiser Cindy Magill’s employment May 28. Magill met with the commissioners in closed session for five minutes to discuss personnel matters related to job performance. No action was taken on return to open session.

County supports conservation district for WRAPS sponsor

Commissioners signed a letter of support for the conservation district to take over sponsorship of Marion Reservoir Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies. The groups have similar concerns and expertise, Commissioner Dan Holub said as he proposed the county withdraw as a potential WRAPS sponsor.

Commission meets in closed session

Commissioners met in closed session twice for five minutes to discuss personnel matters. No action was taken on return to open session.

The commission met with Road and Bridge Superintendent Randy Crawford in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel matters related to job performance. No action was taken on return to open session.

The commission also met with Health Department Administrator Diedre Serene in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.

Building permit granted

Commissioners approved a building permit for Planning and Zoning Director Tonya Richards to build a 720-square-foot shed on her property.

Richards is responsible for approving most building permits, but she said she was uncomfortable approving her own permit.

Wages set

New jailer Michael Calhoun’s pay rate was set at $10.30 per hour. Sheriff’s deputy Derek Fetrow received a raise from $15.76 to $16.01 per hour. Jail administrator Jim Philpott received a raise from $16.04 to $16.30 per hour for serving in the position one year.

Railroad meetings today

Commissioners were to attend on-site meetings about railroad crossings this morning. The meetings were scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Pawnee Road south of Aulne and 11:15 a.m. on Remington Road near 180th Road.

The next commission meeting is scheduled for Monday. The commission will meet with representatives from cities to discuss recycling May 28.

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