Sibley, Iowa — A $7 million urban renewal plan that was to involve wind turbines and economic development projects at a farm, a trucking company, and the old Ocheyedan school has been shelved in Osceola County.
According to the plan, the idea was to develop and stimulate economic development through the Endeavor Wind Farm consisting of 60 wind turbines, along with economic development projects at Sunrise Farms and D & K Transportation, and the urban renewal and rehabilitation of the old Ocheyedan School building.
The county intended to use the new tax revenue generated from improvements within the urban renewal area to provide for tax incentives to assist with public improvements and to provide Osceola County with a valuable financing tool in encouraging private development. The plan was to create a Tax Increment Financing district, or TIF.
The plan says that Sunrise Farms is proposing a major expansion of their egg production facility that will cost an estimated $8 million dollars. It says D & K Transportation is proposing a project to add new buildings to the Ocheyedan location. The old Ocheyedan School building is determined to be blighted due to its many structural and aesthetic condition issues, and the money would have gone toward that project as well. Plus, Osceola County had planned to use some of the money to do some road infrastructure work that would have helped both Sunrise Farms and D & K Transportation.
However, critics of the plan said that other taxing entities stood to lose money on the deal. Harris-Lake Park Schools say they would have stood to lose $230,000 per year in taxes redirected due to the TIF. Critics also say that TIF is supposed to be for new projects. They also say that they think the projects would have happened with or without the TIF money.
We talked to Osceola County Board Chair Jayson Vande Hoef and he read from a prepared statement.
The public hearing was to have been on Tuesday.