Costco prevails in chicken plant conflict

by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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 Costco store sign
 
FREMONT, Neb. – Costco Wholesale Corp. is in the home stretch of the company’s journey to build a company owned poultry plant in Fremont, Nebraska.

 

But the plan has its detractors. Nebraska Communities United recently launched a campaign to air community concerns about the poultry processing complex. In a “Summary of Concerns” listed on the group’s website, the impact of “vertically-integrated agriculture”; quality of life and poverty; liability and environmental contamination were listed, among other concerns.

And three Fremont residents sued the city, alleging the City Council violated the law by designating a parcel of productive farmland as “blighted” in order get tax increment financing for the redevelopment project.

Still, Costco plans to build a poultry processing operation that would include a 75,000-sq.-ft. hatcher, a 250,000-sq.-ft. processing facility, a feed mill and other improvements. The project will cost an estimated $300 million and create 1,100 new jobs. City Council members, on July 26, approved a redevelopment agreement detailing the city’s and Costco’s responsibilities under the redevelopment plan.

The council approved a note of $13.5 million in tax-increment financing (TIF). TIF is public financing used to subsidize community improvement projects such as infrastructure and redevelopment. The TIF would be repaid by tax revenue generated by the poultry plant over a period of 15 years, according to the agreement.

Additionally under the agreement, the city of Fremont will extend water, sewer, electric and natural gas utilities to the project site by June 30, 2018. The agreement also calls for the city to build a wastewater lagoon system funded by Costco.

The agreement also shows that Costco will apply for $1 million in incentives under a local economic development plan; receive a discount on electricity for five years and $2 million in economic development incentives from the city of Fremont. Costco also plans to apply for tax incentives offered by the state of Nebraska under the Advantage Act, according to the agreement.

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