Council approves tax abatement for Mrs. Gerry’s

Published 10:17 am Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The Albert Lea City Council on Monday approved property tax abatement of the city’s portion of taxes for Mrs. Gerry’s in Albert Lea, which is planning to renovate its existing building to expand office space and production capacity. 

The company is expected to invest at least $1 million into the project and create at least four new administrative  jobs at the facility, City Manager Ian Rigg said. He noted during the work session prior to the meeting that the jobs will pay between $70,000 and $100,000 and will be necessary to expand the company’s market and production. 

According to the agreement, $50,000 in tax abatement will be provided on the city’s portion of the increment generated from the company’s last major remodel. The current tax increment finance is set to expire. 

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The first payment of $12,500 will be paid on Aug. 1, 2023, and each Feb. 1 and Aug. 1 after until Feb. 1, 2025. 

As part of the agreement, Mrs. Gerry’s must retain the four new positions during the term of the three-year agreement.

In other action, the council: 

  • Approved a grant agreement through the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Local Road Improvement Program for reimbursement to the city of about $394,000 for the former Godfather’s Pizza property at 509 E. Main St. 

The city purchased the property as part of the upcoming flood mitigation efforts to take place on East Main Street next year. 

A storm water pond will be built on the property. The state also plans to raise parts of the road to help with flooding when the road is being reconstructed. 

  • Heard a presentation from Aaron Dahl with Bergen KDV about the audit of the city’s 2020 financial statements.

Dahl said the company issued a clean opinion of the city’s statements.  

  • Heard from five people who disagreed with Rigg’s recent decision not to renew the lease with The Interchange Wine & Coffee Bistro at the end of the year. They asked the council to direct the city manager to retract his decision. Some even asked for disciplinary action to be taken against Rigg. No response was given from the council.
  • Approved a maintenance agreement with MnDOT for the city to perform maintenance on Minnesota Highway 13, from U.S. Highway 69 to Broadway and on U.S. Highway 65 from Margaretha to Morningside avenues. 

The agreement is from July 1 to June 30, 2023 for about $71,000, a 4% increase in payment for each year. 

  • Authorized the renewal of a limited use permit with MnDOT for the Albert Lea welcome sign within the state’s right of way of Interstate 90. The city started the agreement in 2002, and the renewal continues through Oct. 1, 2031. 
  • Authorized the renewal of a limited use permit for the boat access to Edgewater Bay off of Minnesota Highway 13. The permit will run through Oct. 1, 2031.
  • Approved a resolution not waiving monetary limits on tort liability. By doing this, an individual claimant would be able to recover no more than $500,000 on any claim to which the statutory limits apply.