Quality Pork incentives set; new officials take office

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 24, 2002

An incentive package by the city for Quality Pork Processors took shape during the council meeting Monday.

City Manager Paul Sparks said the city would issue a $3.47 million, 15-year maturity general-obligation bond for building the 51,000 square-foot facility. The 11-acre site in the Northaire Industrial Park would be leased by Greater Jobs Inc. at $25,500 a year.

During a 15-year period, the building would be leased to QPP. And after that, the ownership would be transferred to the company, if it choses.

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Though the city would be responsible for paying back the bond, if QPP somehow failed to come up with the lease, Sparks intends to equip a failsafe by having Hormel Foods Company, QPP’s co-packer and exclusive customer, guarantee the lease or enter a coterminous producer agreement with QPP that ensures sufficient business transactions between the two firms.

QPP plans to expand its operations and Albert Lea is one of the candidates for the new plant along with Clear Lake, Iowa, and Austin. The facility would be a pork-loin processing plant that would eventually employ up to 200 workers.

Other actions in the council approved in the meeting are:

– A contract with Alliant Energy for installing methane-conversion generators at the wastewater treatment plant. The device will utilize the methane gas coming out in the wastewater treatment process and reduce the electricity bill by $60,000 a year. The payback period for the investment is around two to two-and-a-half years.

– An allocation of $678,000 in interest earnings from the Police and Fire Pension Return Funds to the general fund: $125,000 for the development of a water plant, $100,000 for storm alarm unit replacements and $20,000 for life rescue system renewal. The balance will be used for downtown projects.

– Variances for the county on Newton Avenue and the alley south of the new criminal justice center, where the county will work on footings and telephone cable duct installation as a part of the new courthouse project.

– Some officials left and others came in to replace them, all hoping for the betterment of Albert Lea, during the last council meeting of the year Monday.

New mayor Jean Eaton, incoming Second Ward councilor Randy Erdman, Fourth Ward councilor Jeff Fjelstad, also incoming, and reelected Six Ward councilor Al Brooks were sworn in at the end of meeting.

Eaton, who survived a fierce mayoral election race with her slogan of &uot;can-do spirit&uot; said, &uot;I’m just very honored and so humbled that the community would choose me to be there, as the mayor. I will work very hard.&uot;

Eaton stressed that the priority of the city business has to be the employment issue. &uot;Anything that we can do to create jobs, whether it’s retention, expansion or recruitment, we have to work on that,&uot; she said. &uot;This is a fine city. And I am so excited to be part of it. We have a great team coming on board. And, we’re going to try to make something happen.&uot;

Mayor Bob Haukoos, who is retiring after two years in power, said, &uot;It’s been wonderful two years. And, I do believe in the next two years things will go forward, with the city, county and different citizen groups working together. I do look forward to seeing the future of Albert Lea.&uot;

Exiting Second Ward councilor Dave McPherson, being in the seat for eight years, and Fourth Word councilor Ron Sorenson, on the council for 16 years, thanked the mayor, City Manager Paul Sparks, other city employees and their constituents.