County OKs tax break for Great Plains

FAIRMONT — In their first meeting of the new year, Martin County commissioners unanimously approved a 10-year tax abatement for Great Plains Transportation on Tuesday.

The business, located at the Arthur Andrews building on North State Street in Fairmont, is looking at an expansion of 12,000 square feet. The abatement for the county’s share of property taxes is $164,000.

The abatement issue was open to a public hearing and Fairmont economic development coordinator Linsey Preuss was present to address the reasons behind the request.

“Great Plains Transportation started their business here, and they’ve been here for 23 years,” she said. “They now have 42 employees and they’re looking at adding another eight full-time employees over the next five years. They are looking for the tax abatement only on the new portion of the building, so they will continue to pay taxes on the current portion.”

Preuss noted that the city of Fairmont and the school district both had public hearings and unanimously approved the request.

“We’re just really grateful to be here in the city of Fairmont,” said Sherri DeJong, co-owner of Great Plains Transportation as well as the building where the business is located. “We just want to continue to be here to grow our business in the area. It’s a good community, and we support a number of businesses with what do here in the city and in the county.”

“This is a good business; we want to keep them here,” said Commissioner Elliot Belgard.

“It’s a good project,” said Commissioner Tom Mahoney. “We’re not losing any money and anything we can do to promote jobs in Martin County I’m all for.”

In other news, the board heard a brief update from County Engineer Kevin Peyman, who noted a lack of significant snowfall.

“We’ve enjoyed the winter so far,” he said. “We’ve been out some, and we’ve got a lot of tree cutting done. A lot of times one of the biggest projects we do in the winter when we have time is we’ll go out and clear groves that cause snow problems for landowners. We’ve gotten quite a bit of that done this year. With the little bit of snow, we’ve been able to catch up on some projects we haven’t gotten done in past winters.”

Peyman also answered a question regarding Highway 263 between Welcome and Ceylon. Mahoney asked him if the highway had been overlaid recently, mentioning that the road seems to be in better shape.

“No, what they’ve actually been doing is it’s been in such bad shape that they can’t really snowplow it, so every year prior to winter they’ve been doing some maintenance patches where they go long distances,” Peyman said. “That way the snowplows don’t catch, because they’re two years out for it to be rebuilt yet. So they’re just trying to Band-Aid it year after year to get through the winter so it doesn’t pop out when the blades are going over it.”