By Tara Mathews
HOWARD LAKE, MNTax Increment Financing (TIF) and room for expansion have attracted a new company to Howard Lake industrial park.
The company expects to add five full-time and some additional part-time employment opportunities when the project is complete.
The Howard Lake City Council adopted a resolution to establish a TIF agreement with Midwest Motion Products at its meeting, Tuesday.
The TIF agreement is valid for nine years, at the end of which the city will be reimbursed in whole.
The city has established a price for the parcel at $60,901. The actual transaction with Midwest Motion will be for $1, plus additional development fees of about $10,000.
Through the tax increment financing plan, the city will be reimbursed by redirecting the increased tax revenue from the project back to the city.
Midwest Motion Products is a 14-year-old, family-owned business that designs, manufactures, and distributes motion-controlled products for use in robotic and automated applications.
The company produces highly-specialized products for original equipment manufacturers, and markets them worldwide.
Midwest Motion Products does not generally sell to the public, Cordes said.
“We’re grateful for this opportunity to work with Midwest Motion Products. From all accounts they are a growing company, and in a strong industry. The proposal showcases the true intent of the industrial park through job creation in manufacturing, and increasing the tax base,” Mayor Pete Zimmerman said. “They will be a great asset to the Howard Lake industrial park and community in whole.”
Examples of the company’s products include applications for mobile robots such as bomb disposal robots, agricultural planters, ramps for handicap vans, wheelchair lifts, solar and wind energy, and remote steering devices for Air Force missile training.
Midwest Motion Products has been working in cramped quarters near Watertown, according to CEO Randy Cordes.
“Our manufacturing backlog has doubled in the past three months,” Cordes said.
The plan to expand to Howard Lake will quadruple the company’s office and production space.
The new 7,800-square-foot building is not expected to exceed $400,000, between the two builders Midwest Motion Products has hired.
The company will not be moving in until the building is complete and ready for production, Cordes said.
The firm hopes to break ground mid-May, according to City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller.
“Our customers will not want us to miss a beat,” Cordes commented. “And we won’t miss a single beat.”
Cordes became interested in the Howard Lake industrial park due to the possibility of receiving the TIF agreement, which adds extra value and will result in lowered cost for Midwest Motion Products.
“Having been a Watertown resident and business owner for many years, I am excited to get to know the people in the community and to take advantage of the community’s business-oriented and welcoming attitude,” Cordes stated.
He added that working with Haggenmiller and Financial Advisor Shannon Sweeney of David Drown and Associates has been a pleasant experience.
“I found the City of Howard Lake to be easy to work with,” Cordes said. “and seemingly genuinely interested in our well-being as a company.”
“This is a big deal for Howard Lake and the city-owned industrial park. The project is a great example that when an established private company is willing to invest in a significant manner in our industrial park, increase the tax base, and promote job creation, we are able to match by assisting and offering agreeable design standards, expedient approval process, and tax increment financing to the developer,” Haggenmiller commented. “We hope this will, in turn, spark additional interest in Howard Lake.”
Follow the link to Midwest Motion Products Inc. at www.herald-journal.com.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• agreed to a letter of understanding between the City of Howard Lake and the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.
The letter of understanding states that Wright County Sheriff’s Office will have access to vehicle storage at the city’s former wastewater treatment facility property.
The city will not be responsible for any vandalism, accidents, or moving the stored vehicle for snow removal, according to Haggenmiller.
• heard from Deputy Clerk Jennifer Nash that the online billing and payment system has helped decrease the number of unpaid water bills.
About 20 percent of residents are currently enrolled in the online billing and payment system, and participation is expected to reach 27 percent, according to Nash.