Nesika plant nears end of tax-exempt status

By Deb Hadachek Telescope editor

The 10-year-tax exemption on the Nesika ethanol plant at Scandia expires the end of 2018, but no one is sure what that might mean for the county’s property valuation, Republic County Appraiser Barry Porter told county commissioners Monday.

“The state just throws their hands up and says it’s up to you (when it comes to ethanol plants),” Porter said.

The facility was purchased last year from local investors by British Petroleum/Dupont to produce bio-isobutanol. Porter said he has contacted company officials to see if the company has an appraisal from the sale that could be used for it’s county value.

“It would save us a lot of money,” Porter said.

Otherwise, a private appraiser will be hired to determine the value, with the cost to be shared by the county and the company, he said.

He said he hopes to determine the value by June so the county and Pike Valley school district can use that value to determine 2019 budgets.

Porter said Rice County has a 100 million gallon ethanol plant coming on the tax rolls this year, and the appraiser is spending “an inordinate amount of time on it.” The Scandia plant is a 10 million gallon plant.

Commissioner Ed Splichal pointed out that some of the 100 million gallon plants in Nebraska that failed “that you couldn’t give away”.

“(Nesika) has a lot of advantages that others didn’t,” said Commissioner Marvin Bergstrom. “They have the feed, and have a place for their byproduct (the excess flake that is fed to cattle).”

“By same token we want to keep them there,” he said. “Look at what they’re able to buy corn and sorghum for now compared to three years ago.”