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Packing plant agreement signed
September 03, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
Minatare has taken the first big step in bringing a meatpacking plant to the community.

On Aug. 26, members of the Minatare City Council approved entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with F2E Global LLC. The agreement designates Minatare as the beef processing plants choice in west Nebraska.

In recent months, Minatare listened to proposals from project manager Tetrad Corporation at public forum meetings. And, after the community had a chance to voice concerns, the council voted to ask F2E to consider Minatare as a potential site.

Morrill County stock feeder Pete Lapaseotes, co-owner of F2E, said the company was excited to partner with Minatare to bring jobs to the community. We believe this facility will be a game changer for the area and we look forward to getting the redevelopment process underway, he said.

Minatare community leaders have been investigating possible projects to provide new jobs and new revenue for the struggling village of about 800 residents. School Superintendent Tim Cody said the potential development was essential for the schools to continue to grow and thrive.

The processing plant is designed to produce a specialized beef product for both foreign and domestic markets. Once in full operation, the plant will process about 1,500 head of cattle a day and employ 600 people.

City Council member Marcella Kreiling voted against the memorandum, not so much in opposition, but because of uncertainty. Im still not sure, so Im in the investigative stage, she said. Im just not sure the plant is put together beyond the initial drawings we looked at, so Im still curious about a lot of things.

Although signing the memorandum is a major step, its just the first among many in developing the project. The city will have to annex the proposed site east of town and also approve Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to fund the operation.

For its part, F2E will acquire the site from Minatare, and build a livestock processing, storage and shipping facility.

Minatare City Attorney Audrey Elliott said the ball is now in F2Es court. The company will be required to show an agreement, taking into account whichever city is chosen. The city will annex the plant site as part of town a primary consideration for TIF funding. As another requirement, F2Es studies also need EPA approval.

Originally, Minatare called a special council meeting to consider signing the memorandum and making the necessary zoning changes.
I was concerned that was unfair because we dont know if the plant is even coming, or if they have their financing taken care of, Elliott said. Were not going to undergo a bunch of planning commission meetings, public hearings and zoning changes until we know for sure theyre coming. Minatare doesnt have to do anything at this point until we get the thumbs up that F2E has completed all it needs to do.

The Memorandum of Understanding ends in August 2016. Company officials have indicated it probably will be early next year before major progress is made.
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