Bluestem is fascinated by this complaint by Stewart Mills III of Nisswa about government getting in the way of business in Minnesota Public Radio's Dan Kraker's report, Stewart Mills to run for 8th Dist. seat:
"We have very high unemployment in the 8th district, and I know through my lifelong involvement in my family's business the hurdles, the barriers, and the handicaps that are placed upon us in job creation through government," Mills said.
Mills 3 is the vice president of Mills Fleet Farm, a discount chain established when the one way of getting around blue laws was by letting government get in the way of other retailers, while one catered farm and "fleet" customers.
One wonders if he means this list of hurdles, barriers and handicaps in the April 1, 2013, Jordan Independent article, Loyal customers flock to Fleet:
. . .[Customers] Schmidt and Wassather are examples of what Carver city officials wanted when they agreed to provide Mills Properties, Inc. a maximum public subsidy exceeding $1.48 million for launching development of the freeway commercial district. . . .Two years of detailed planning, negotiations with city officials and construction set the stage for the grand opening last June.
The major steps were annexing the property from Dahlgren Township into Carver city limits, rezoning the nearly 39 acres from agricultural to commercial use, preparing a detailed site plan, and creating the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district and financing plan that provides the public subsidy to Mills Properties.
In simple terms, the TIF program allows a local government to help a developer finance a project by offering partial property tax rebates on the increased taxable value of the property that the project creates.
The Carver City Council agreed to pay the subsidy to Mills Properties because councilors believe the Fleet Farm store will spark several additional projects by other developers in the freeway commercial district.
No other development proposal for the commercial district has been submitted yet.
Obeidzinski notified the city that the Fleet Farm store, convenience store and car wash would not have been built at the Carver site at that time without the TIF subsidy.
The company budgeted $20.57 million for the Carver complex, including $10.4 million for building construction and site development, according to company figures submitted to the city government.
The maximum base subsidy for Mills Properties is $991,287, but that amount is supplemented by simple, non-compounding interest at 6.5 percent per year. Interest earnings increase the projected total subsidy pay-out to $1,485,975, according to the city’s financial consultant, Ehlers Inc. of Roseville.
Tax rebate payments to Mills Properties are scheduled twice a year, starting Aug. 1, 2013, and ending Feb. 1, 2022, according to records.
The subsidy to Mills Properties is paid from 90 percent of the tax money that is funneled into the TIF district, according to the tax increment promissory note issued in August 2012. The city government keeps the other 10 percent as an administrative fee.
Mills Properties will be billed $374,426 of property tax in 2013 for the three parcels comprising the development, including $349,652 for the Mills Fleet Farm store, $18,832 for the Mills Gas Mart convenience store and $5,942 for the Mills Car Wash, according to the Carver County Taxpayer Services Department.
County records show that $104,900.12 of that $374,426 tax payment this year will be funneled into the TIF district. Based on the rebate being 90 percent of TIF funds, the city is scheduled to rebate $94,410.11 of 2013 taxes to Mills Properties.
Most taxes refunded to the company through the TIF district would otherwise be paid to Carver city government, Carver County government and School District 112. . . .
With that sort of hurdle, barrier and handicap, it's a wonder the Mills family property and construction division, Mills Properties, Inc., didn't simply decide to shelf the project and opt to build a store in Texas.
However, the Shakopee News reported that there was "little controversy" in getting the project done. Maybe Stewart Mills III is thinking about having to face the horror of being involved in a tax exempt industrial revenue bond in Brooklyn Center. Bond Buyer reported on January 9, 1984 (via Nexis All News):
Mills Fleet Farm. . . . .$4,000,000 . . .
Or maybe it was the humiliation of the Lakeville City Council authorizing a $3.5 million industrial revenue development bond on December 16, 1985 (page 4) for a project in that fair city.
Perhaps it's some other TIF or industrial revenue development bonds or the other economic development tools that have been used by government to assist his business that's got him up in arms. Or maybe he likes the money but expects a free lunch.
Bluestem can't wait to hear the explanation.
Photo: Steward Mills III, who will be running for congress in Minnesota CD8.
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