HJ - Agriland Groundbreaking

Ground was broken Monday, April 29, at the site of a new grain handling and storage facility to be built by Agriland FS, Inc., next to the company’s mill on East Garfield Street in Clarinda. Wielding shovels are, from left, Austin Ascherl, grain manager; John Knobloch, Agriland general manager; Jay Sunderman, board member; Bob Rasmus, grain and procurement manager; and Gordon Buch, board member. Constructed during the first phase of the project will be a 330,000-bushel bin. When grain handling operations are initiated, the facility will be capable of unloading grain from a semi in less than two minutes, and will serve producers in Page County and surrounding areas. (photo by Dan Eshelman)

Residents of Clarinda will have an opportunity to comment on a proposed development agreement with Agriland FS during a public hearing set for Wednesday, July 10, at Clarinda City Hall.

The Clarinda City Council set the date for the hearing during its meeting Wednesday, June 26. As part of the development agreement, Agriland FS has requested an 80 percent rebate on taxes relating to an expansion project at its Clarinda facility for 10 years with a maximum rebate of $1 million.

“The general public has the right to come and speak about the agreement we have with Agriland,” Clarinda City Manager Gary McClarnon said. “Once we hold the public hearing, we’ll have a resolution to pass the development agreement. Then it’s all done and we’re good to go.”

Agriland General Manager John Knobloch and Grain and Procurement Manager Bob Rasmus met with the council in April to review the details of the $5.5 million project. The expansion project will take place at the feed mill site on East Garfield Street.

The project will feature the construction of two new grain bins. A new mechanical system to unload vehicles in a more timely fashion will also be installed as part of the project.

Rasmus said a semi trailer holds approximately 1,000 bushels, or five acres, of corn. With the new system, Rasmus said Agriland would be able to unload that semi in one minute. Currently, he said it takes the facility 20 to 25 minutes to unload a single trailer.

A public hearing on the designation of the Agriland FS Urban Renewal Area was also held during the council meeting. Since no oral or written comments were received during the hearing, the council passed a resolution to establish the urban renewal area.

The council then approved the first reading of an ordinance providing for the division of taxes levied on taxable property in the urban renewal area.

“This allows us to collect not only the city portion of the taxes, but also the county and school portion of the taxes so we can offer a rebate back to them. Plus, we can use 20 percent for infrastructure improvement,” McClarnon said.

Council member Jeff McCall made a motion to waive the second and third readings of the ordinance. Once those readings were waived, the council voted to adopt the ordinance.

Later in the meeting, the council voted to enter closed session to evaluate the performance of McClarnon in his dual role of city manager and city clerk. The council remained in closed session discussions for 55 minutes.

Upon returning to open session, the council approved a resolution issuing a 1.5 % pay increase for the city manager position and a 1.5 % increase for the city clerk position. As a result, McClarnon received a 3 % total salary increase, which was equivalent to other raises issued by the council to salaried employees for the upcoming fiscal year starting July 1.

In other business, the council approved the appointment of Kody Parrott to the Clarinda Volunteer Fire Department.

Clarinda Fire Chief Roger Williams said the addition of Parrott to the department brings the total membership to 23 people. Parrott works at H&H Trailer and lives in Clarinda. He has been a member of the New Market Volunteer Fire Department for three years.

“Iowa requires you have Fire Fighter 1 (certification) to be a volunteer fireman and be able to go into houses. We give people a year to get that, but he’s already got it. So, that helps us out a lot. It’s also going to improve our coverage in the daytime,” Williams said. “I think he’ll be a good addition.”

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