The Fairmont School Board on Tuesday approved a 10-year tax abatement for CHS Inc., which is planning a $100 million project at its existing plant in Fairmont.

CHS estimates that more than $3.1 million will go to local contractors and materials for construction.

The project will include the addition of equipment that will allow the plant to run at a 30 percent faster rate.

Construction is expected to start this fall and be completed by 2021. The abatement will be for up to 10 years, beginning with real estate payable in 2022 and continuing through 2031, not to exceed $423,930.

County Assessor Mike Sheplee spoke about some misconceptions floating around the community. He explained that the cost to current taxpayers is a net zero.

“They’re going to spend $100 million, but there’s only about $5.3 million that’s real estate taxable,” Sheplee pointed out.

“To me, this is a pretty easy decision to make. I’m very glad that we have the opportunity to take a stand on this and take a vote,” said board member Nicole Green.

Both the city and county had previously unanimously approved the tax abatement, although the county added some conditions related to truck traffic and site privacy.

The Fairmont School board approved the concept of a property tax abatement for future multi-family housing units.

Fairmont’s economic development director, Linsey Preuss, shared why the Fairmont Economic Development Authority would like to see such a program.

“Many of our businesses are actually looking at expanding, but because of the two major problems in our community — the lack of child care and the lack of housing — those are two hurdles that we want to remove as a barrier for these businesses,” Preuss said.

The abatement could go to any person or business that builds duplexes or multi-family complexes. The owners would still pay property taxes on the existing lot, but payment of taxes on new construction would be delayed for a specified number of years.

Preuss pointed out that Fairmont has been seeing many single-family homes built so the city does not see the need for an incentive in that category.

The board accepted donations including:

$1,040 from Culligan Water Conditioning for the high school special education department.

$5,900 from the Martin County Area Foundation for the junior high school robotics program.

$58 from Fairmont Evangelical Covenant Church for school supplies for children in need.

$100 from Bowlmor Lanes for supplies for Fairmont Elementary School teachers.

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