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Beginning of a boom?

WORTHINGTON — The Nobles County Board of Commissioners approved the guidelines for the new Nobles Home Initiative Tuesday, finalizing a five-year, 100 percent tax abatement program on new home construction. The action paved the way for the county to receive its first application for the housing program.

V&O Properties, consisting of local contractors Lyle Voss and Rodney Obermoller, received tax abatement approval last week from the Worthington City Council. It had their application acted upon Tuesday by both the Nobles County Board of Commissioners and Independent School District 518 Board of Education.

The contractors’ plan is for the construction of a triplex in West Park Acres, located on Crailsheim Drive across from Olson Park Campground on Worthington’s west side.

“This is exactly the type of project we were hoping for to get this thing going,” said Nobles County Administrator Tom Johnson.

Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp. Manager Abraham Algadi, who was instrumental in getting the housing initiative off the ground, said Tuesday that applications for six more units — one in Bigelow and two outside Worthington’s city limits — will come before the county board for tax abatement approval on June 3, with another application for a unit still early in the process.

Algadi said interest in the Nobles Home Initiative is within expectations, and he’s pleased with how well things are moving.

“I think when we were doing the reports and presentations earlier on in the program, we were talking about seven units in Nobles County in a three-year period,” he said. “The season is barely starting and we are already close to that.”

Algadi’s hope is that additional applicants come forth with plans to build larger complexes, such as 10 to 15 units.

“We invite others to contact us at the WREDC,” he said. “We promise them a very pain-free process.”

The WREDC has copies of the Nobles Home Initiative guidelines available for contractors interested in doing building projects.

As part of Tuesday’s discussion on the initiative, Nobles County Auditor-Treasurer Beth Van Hove said each project approved for the tax abatement program will need to be manually calculated when it comes to tax time.

“It sounds like it’s going to be a real popular thing,” she said of the initiative. “If it’s going to go on for three to five years … we’re talking at least eight years of work.”

In talking with the county’s software provider, Van Hove said, there is the potential to get a software package to help with the calculations. She said she would bring information to the commissioners at a future meeting.

In other action, the board:

  • Approved a bituminous paving contract with Duininck Bros. Inc. of Prinsburg. The $6.74 million bid was the lowest of four to be submitted, and came in at 2.31 percent below the engineer’s estimate. The bituminous surfacing work is slated for Nobles County 78 and Nobles County State Aid Highways 19, 25, 35 and 36.
  • Rescinded a tax abatement agreement originally signed April 8 between Nobles County and Ferrara Candy Co., regarding the retrofitting and use of Ferrara’s Round Lake facility for use by AGCO. Ferrara would not sign the original agreement due to the employment clause the county sought requesting AGCO have 20 new jobs created at the facility. A new agreement was drafted, with approval from Ferrara and AGCO, stating that the 20 new jobs be created by September. The county board approved the new language.
  • Approved a Minnesota Department of Corrections contract renewal with the Nobles County Jail to house overflow inmates from the state prison system. The contract provides for a $55 per day reimbursement rate from the state to house the inmates. This is $5 per day less than what the county charges member counties within the district to house inmates.

“The state sets that,” said Sheriff Kent Wilkening. “You either take $55 or someone else does.”

With the contract renewal, the board also approved an amendment to the 2013-2014 overflow boarding contract with the Department of Corrections because the not-to-exceed dollar amount in the original contract will be exceeded this year.

  • Approved a 3.2 beer license request for Raul Godinez, who is hosting a rodeo on June 8 on his property at 14074 Read Ave. Conditions placed on the permit include that Nobles County Sheriff’s deputies have access before, during and after the rodeo, that off-road parking be provided, that last call for selling beer is at 10:30 p.m., that sober rides will be available to attendees, that wristbands be used to control the purchase/consumption of alcohol and that liability insurance be secured with Nobles County listed as additional insured.
  • Appointed commissioners Gene Metz as delegate and Don Linssen as alternate to the Nobles County Historical Society board. The board had not previously had an appointed county commissioner assigned. The appointment will be eligible for commissioner per diem.
  • Approved four citizen appointments to the Nobles County Revolving Loan Fund board. Filling two-year terms will be Jim Nickel, Jim Elsing, Raymond Konz and Doug Tate.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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