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High value: CHS nitrogen plant valued at $2.04 billion

CHS Inc. and the Stutsman County Commission have agreed on a value of $2.04 billion for the planned Spiritwood nitrogen fertilizer plant, with a value for taxation of $1.33 billion.

“That will get us started on the property tax exemption discussions,” said Casey Bradley, auditor/chief operating officer for Stutsman County.

Now that a value for taxation has been agreed on, CHS will negotiate with taxing entities about possible property tax exemptions, including representatives of Stutsman County, the Jamestown Rural Fire District and Barnes County North.

Consultant firm Thos. Y. Pickett & Co. provided the estimated value for the planned property, excluding land and personal property, through analysis of information provided by CHS.

Pickett’s results were reviewed by CHS, which then discussed them with Pickett representatives.

The total value includes $701 million in plant machinery and equipment, which is not taxable in Stutsman County, Bradley said.

Initial estimates of the project’s cost were much lower, and Commissioner Dale Marks wondered if the higher cost could jeopardize the project.

“And they still have every intent to go ahead with this project?” Marks asked.

“Yes,” replied Dustin Bakken, Stutsman County tax director.

“… I don’t think there was any real surprise at the valuation,” Bradley said, noting that the CHS board of directors still has to approve the project, likely in April or May.

In other news Tuesday, the commission:

* approved out-of-state travel for Warren Tobin, the county’s veteran service officer, to attend annual training in Grand Rapids, Mich. The expenditure was included in the department’s budget.

* approved a request for Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. jobs incentive funds for Dakota Spirit Ag Energy of $682,500. Ten percent of that will be paid by the county, with the city of Jamestown paying the remainder. The jobs incentive grant program is being re-examined by the JSDC and may eventually be capped or changed into a loan.

* approved that JSDC may purchase the South Central Dakota Regional Council’s part of the building it shares with the JSDC and the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce.

* approved a letter of support to fill an upcoming vacancy for a Southeast District judge, as Judge John T. Paulson intends to retire in June.

* agreed to rename a position in the Stutsman County Extension Office to 4-H program assistant, and re-advertise for the position.

* approved the purchases of two vehicles for the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office, and learned that the department had received 24 applications for the new deputy position. Sheriff Chad Kaiser hopes to hire someone by April or May.

* agreed to send a letter of support for a grant requesting money from U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development for a new bookmobile, meant to replace the existing 18-year-old vehicle.

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by email at