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Community-Owned Dairy May Eliminate Twon's Taxes
A small South Dakota town hopes to eliminate property taxes with income from a community-owned 1,200-head dairy operation.
Town leaders in Pollock, S. Dak., propose that the dairy be financed by state loans and local bonds. Talks are under-way with state ag officials, South Dakota State University dairy specialists, and Northeast Council of Governments. A tentative site has even been selected outside town.
"We think we could all but eliminate property taxes," says Wayne Reierson, beef cattleman and member of the Pollock Development Corp., which would operate the proposed dairy. Local tax burden is currently $357,000 to run Pollock School.
There are a lot of gray areas involved in the brainstorm, which carries a start-up cost of $3.2 to $3.5 million. But backers say they're confident the dairy will make money.
The corporation would issue bonds to itself, which wouldn't require a public vote. The corporation retains ownership of the dairy and grants its profits to the school district for tax relief. The district would not be involved in operating the dairy.
The corporation might award scholarships to Pollock students and also hopes to use some of the dairy's income for a revolving loan fund for local businesses.
The dairy is expected to provide 15 to 17 new jobs, including two relatively high-paying positions - a herd manager and veterinarian.
Area farmers could sell feed to the dairy and provide bred heifers.
In addition, the dairy would help stabilize the local milk pool available for Pollock's Mid-American Dairy cheese plant, which processes 600,000 lbs. of milk a day, Reierson notes.
If everything goes according to plan, the dairy will be up and running by the end of the year, but probably not up to full capacity of 1,000 Holstein milk cows and 200 dry cows.
(Aberdeen American News)

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1997 - Volume #21, Issue #4