Scott County and the company that wants to bring a $1.5 billion fertilizer plant to the Quad-Cities have had preliminary talks about incentives although the project still faces several hurdles.

Orascom Construction Industries wants to build the plant between Davenport and Walcott along U.S. 6 and must get approval of a request to rezone 318 acres of farmland to heavy industrial and get a special use permit approved.

County planning staff was expected to release its recommendation on the rezoning request on Friday, but the release now is expected Monday. County legal staff was reviewing the recommendation Friday afternoon.

Scott County hasn’t been selected by the Egyptian company. Orascom is considering Iowa locations in Lee County, Clinton and Middletown, as well as Pekin, Ill.

County Administrator Dee Bruemmer said she has been in contact with the company should it reach the point of applying for local and state incentives to build the plant at the site.

“They provided me information, and I’ve given them feedback,” she said, “but I can’t really go into any detail because there is a bigger hurdle right now.”

The Egyptian company wants to build a fertilizer plant on the site that would supply three types of fertilizer to farmers in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The company held an open house Thursday night to attempt to answer questions neighbors might have about the plant. More than 200 people attended.

The request to change the land’s zoning from agricultural preservation to heavy industrial will be heard Tuesday night at the Scott County Administration Center in downtown Davenport.

The county needs to be aware of the company’s potential needs and assistance demands in order to move quickly should an incentives request reach the board of supervisors, Bruemmer said.

Should rezoning occur and the Scott County site be selected, Orascom would have to submit a letter to the Iowa Economic Development Authority rescinding incentives for a Lee County site in southeast Iowa.

A joint application by Orascom and the county would be submitted to the Iowa Economic Development Authority for its board to consider, authority spokeswoman Tina Hoffman said.

The nature of the application would depend on what local incentives would be provided and how they fit into state programs. Local incentives could be tax increment financing, tax abatements, loans from a revolving

loan fund or a combination.

“There are lots of different ways for entities to assist,” Hoffman said. “Every community is different, and every project is different.”

The county received letters in support of the project from the Iowa Farm Bureau, Gov. Terry Branstad and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.

Should the project clear the first hurdle, the board of supervisors and the Zoning Board of Adjustment also would have public hearings on the project. Supervisors would vote on the whether to accept the the planning and zoning recommendation. The board of adjustment would vote on a request for a special use permit.

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(2) comments

fertilizer fighter
fertilizer fighter

Please check out the web site wearelee.com.

fertilizer fighter
fertilizer fighter

This story is omitting the biggest part of the incentive package. In addition to wanting $30+ million from the state, at least $1 million from the county, and several million dollars from all local governments through Tax Increment Financing, Orascom is asking for state bonds through the MDA bond program. It's corporate welfare. The bonds--created to help companies rebuild after 2008 flooding--will enable Orascom to save around $100 million in interest payments and deprive the federal government of almost $400 million in income taxes from Orascom's lenders. It's all in the name of jobs--roughly $900,000 per job created. What this means is that while residents have to live with the pollution, truck traffic and unending light from the plant, they also have to pay for those things.
http://www.dailydem.com/articles/2012/06/27/opinion/letters/letters1.txt

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