Supervisors weigh options on tax break for Pickering expansion

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS - The $5 million expansion project at the Heartland Co-op Pickering location near Ferguson is under way. As work continues at the site, shown here, the Marshall County Board of Supervisors are weighing the option of allowing a property tax abatement on the new expansion.

A decision on a tax break for an expansion project at the Heartland Cooperative Pickering location will have to wait until later this month.

The Marshall County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to table possible action on a proposed three-year, 100-percent property tax abatement for a new grain storage facility at the Pickering location east of Ferguson.

“We originally started looking at this when we were approached by Pickering about doing a very large expansion to their grain storage facilities,” said Board Vice Chairman Dave Thompson. “I’ve talked to a lot of people since then, I’m not getting a lot of support for this.”

Board member Steve Salasek said he had heard similar feedback from county residents.

“We need to be careful about choosing favorites in a situation like this,” he said.

Board Chairman Bill Patten said opening an opportunity for a property tax break for the Pickering location could cause pressure to open such a break to several different types of locations and businesses.

“What if someone wants to build a building and work with trucks and truck engines …. is this then part of this, too?” he said. “This could get beyond what we can handle.”

The question about such a tax abatement came up at the board’s May 15 meeting. At that time, the board decided to collect constituents’ feedback.

The project is under way at the Pickering location. The Heartland project is set to cost about $5 million and will increase the amount of grain the facility can hold when farmers deliver during harvest.

“If we’re going to go down this road, we need to really be careful and think through all the different aspects,” Thompson said. “I’d like to approach this really slowly.”

The supervisors agreed to contact officials in Tama, Grundy and Story counties to ask about their policies with similar projects. The topic is set to come up again at the July 24 board meeting.

In other business

The official Fiscal Year 2018 county employee salaries were approved to be published at Tuesday’s meeting. The total of the wages comes to $8,249,559.23, or about 34 percent of the county’s FY18 budget.

Figures included in the list account for people in full-time, part-time, seasonal and temporary positions, as well as members of small boards. Additionally, some amounts listed are partial salaries due to the timing of the new fiscal year, which begins each year on July 1.

The supervisors unanimously approved six agreements with small towns in the county for law enforcement protection by the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office. The cities of Le Grand, Laurel, Liscomb, Albion, Clemons and Gilman will pay the county a total of $65,520 for the services.

The board also accepted the Iowa Byrne Justice Assistant Grant in the amount of $82,926 to go toward Mid-Iowa Drug Task Force wages and benefits. A match of $27,641 will be added from individual department budget line items.

The next Marshall County Board of Supervisors meeting is set for 9 a.m. July 24 in meeting room No. 2 on the third floor of the Marshall County Courthouse, 1 E. Main St.


Contact Adam Sodders at

(641) 753-6611 or