Tax-authorized agency doesn’t collect taxesPublished 10:02am Thursday, April 5, 2012
Column: Vern Rasmussen, Guest Column
For the 25th straight year, the board of directors of the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency approved a zero percent property tax levy. Not a zero percent increase — but no levy at all. This means there is no property tax burden on the citizens of Albert Lea or anywhere in Freeborn County for economic development services provided by ALEDA.
In addition to not levying a tax, ALEDA pays taxes! The organization will pay more than $120,000 in property taxes in 2012 for the property it owns.
ALEDA consists of two organizations: The Albert Lea Port Authority, a governmental agency; and Greater Jobs Inc., a nonprofit economic development corporation.
Under Minnesota statutory levy authority for port authorities, the board could have levied $160,000 for administrative purposes but has once again chosen not to do so. Other port authorities in Minnesota levied more than $4 million in 2011.
The mission of ALEDA is, “To provide and promote services and resources to retain, expand, create and attract businesses, increase tax base and quality employment opportunities in Freeborn County.”
This includes helping our existing employers expand and recruiting new employers to Freeborn County.
The ALEDA board is proud of the fact that the organization is self-sustaining. ALEDA does not require the use of the levy or large contributions from other local units of government such as the city of Albert Lea or Freeborn County. Incomes for operations of the agency primarily come from rental income and Greater Jobs Inc. memberships.
ALEDA provides economic development services to more than just the city of Albert Lea. Utilizing Greater Jobs Inc., ALEDA operates anywhere in Freeborn County. Projects outside the city of Albert Lea in recent years include:
• Worked with the Bent Tree Wind Farm.
• Assisted Hartland in obtaining an infrastructure grant to support the Bent Tree maintenance facility.
• Helped Alden and Albert Lea Township establish tax-increment-finance districts.
• Working closely with the owners of the Agra Resources Industrial Park near Glenville to market their property. A project occurring here will be announced soon!
In addition, ALEDA operates the Albert Lea Business Development Center, which is an incubator for start-up business in Freeborn County. Also, the ALBDC provides business consulting services — at no charge — to those looking to start or expand a business anywhere in Freeborn County.
Vern Rasmussen is the mayor of Albert Lea and the president of the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency.