Tax abatement decision delayed

Higher than anticipated bids delayed a decision by the Pipestone City Council on an amendment to a property tax abatement that was approved last year for the Pipestone Development Company (PDC).

The original abatement would have offset the cost for the PDC to install water and sewer infrastructure at the former Hill Elementary School property, which it owns. The amended resolution would make the city the beneficiary of the abatement rather than the PDC, so the city would pay for the infrastructure work and use tax revenue generated by the property to reimburse itself for the cost of the work over 15 years.

The city council held a public hearing to take comments on the proposed amendment on May 15 and continued the hearing on June 20 when bids for the project were opened. No one commented during the hearing.

Of the four bids that were received for the project, the lowest was $185,217.15 from Double D Gravel. The highest was $329,485.25. City Engineer Travis Winter said he’d review the bids and bring a recommendation back to the council at its July 10 meeting.

City Administrator Deb Nelson said that because the low bid was more than $175,000 and the notice for the public hearing indicated it would be “not more than $175,000,” another public hearing would have to be scheduled. No date has been set yet for that hearing.

“We’ll kind of restart the process with a new notice and the actual number and then have that number in the resolution to be finalized after the next public hearing,” said City Attorney Jason Hill.

That being the case, the resolution that would amend the original abatement was tabled.