Community Redevelopment Authority approves city's contract with Sustainable Beef LLC
Groundbreaking on Sustainable Beef LLC’s planned North Platte meatpacking plant moved closer with a city panel’s approval Monday of a redevelopment contract.
The Community Redevelopment Authority voted 4-0, with new member Greg Wilke abstaining, to accept the terms worked out between city and project leaders.
They cover the $142,500 sale of a retired city sewer lagoon for the beef-plant site; $21.5 million in tax increment financing toward the project’s $325 million cost; and mandates for Sustainable Beef to meet or exceed state-of-the-art standards to operate the plant and control its odors.
“There are very specific performance standards that they have to meet,” CRA attorney Mike Bacon of Gothenburg said.
Especially regarding odor control, “they essentially have to build this plant just like the Kuna, Idaho, plant,” he said.
A five-member North Platte delegation visited Kuna Nov. 1 for literal “smell tests” at varying distances from the city’s five-year-old CS Beef Packers plant. The 24,000-person city is southwest of Boise.
Bacon said the redevelopment contract can be signed once 30 days pass and Sustainable Beef presents a signed construction contract and its final proof of financing.
Monday’s vote “is not the final thing the redevelopment authority will do, but it’s the second to the last,” he said in reviewing the contract’s terms for CRA members.
Bacon said state law imposes the 30-day delay after the CRA reports its vote to the City Council. Its members, who voted 8-0 Dec. 7 for the lagoon sale and TIF aid, don’t have to vote again, he said.
The one-month hold equals the time left in the 2022 session of the Legislature, which is expected to consider $20 million in Sustainable Beef aid starting this week.
Legislative Bill 1014 would direct that amount from Nebraska’s $1.04 billion share of federal COVID-19 aid toward the costs of Sustainable Beef’s onsite wastewater treatment system.
“Likely they’ll adjourn before we get anything done” to finalize a groundbreaking date, Sustainable Beef CEO David Briggs of Alliance said after Monday’s vote.
Lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn April 20, 30 days after Monday’s CRA vote. State Sens. Mike McDonnell of Omaha and Mike Jacobson of North Platte are expected to make the case for beef-plant aid on the floor.
The $20 million in American Rescue Plan Act money “definitely will help” close the financing package so the contract approved Monday can be signed, Briggs said.
“Groundbreaking will be our next milestone to achieve,” Briggs said. “It’s definitely a milestone today.”
Friday marked the first anniversary of Sustainable Beef’s press conference announcing organizers’ desire to build their 875-employee, 1,500-head-per-day processing plant in North Platte.
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