Lake Elmo tax abatement request gets hearing

Board OKs contract allowing Lakeview to join CodeRED system

WashCo_logoA tax abatement request from Lake Elmo will get an April 9 public hearing from the Washington County Board of Commissioners.

Commissioners set the hearing date Tuesday for the tax abatement proposal on property in the 8600 block of Hudson Boulevard. The Lake Elmo City Council approved a city abatement for the site Feb. 19.

Lake Elmo seeks the tax abatement to encourage Valley Cartage of Hudson, Wis., to move a logistics and call center to a multi-story office building east of the Interstate 94-Inwood Avenue interchange.

Deputy County Administrator Kevin Corbid said Valley Cartage would bring 30 existing jobs to Lake Elmo and possibly add 50 more jobs in the future. The company has already received state grants through the Minnesota Investment Fund and Job Skills Partnership.

“The city has worked very closely with the county and state,” Corbid said.
The abatement would be up to $5,000 a year for four years, or a total of $20,000, according to Corbid. If Valley Cartage does not meet its goals, the funds would be given back to the county, Corbid said.

Lake Elmo seeks the tax abatement due to concerns from Valley Cartage officials about how a sale of the building would affect its property taxes, Corbid said.
“As part of the move to Lake Elmo, the business is concerned about an increase in taxes,” he said.

If commissioners approve Lake Elmo’s request, it would be only the third tax abatement granted in the county in more than 15 years.

“We have approved two agreements on abatements since 1997,” Corbid said. He added that the previous abatements were for Oak Marsh in Oakdale and the Tamarack interchange in Woodbury.

Corbid said Lake Elmo city officials will attend the April 9 hearing to explain their abatement request.

In other actions Tuesday, commissioners approved an agreement between Lakeview Hospital and the County Sheriff’s Office allowing the hospital to notify its employees in emergency and non-emergency situations through the CodeRED emergency notification system.

Hutton said Lakeview will pay a $150 sign-on fee and $50 per 100 employees to have CodeRED messages sent to hospital employees. The hospital has about 1,000 employees, the sheriff added.

“They do not have access to CodeRED,” Hutton said. “This is for internal use only for Lakeview Hospital. They (messages) can only be sent internally to their employees.

Hutton said the county’s CodeRED system has more than 71,000 phone numbers in its system, covering between 16,000 and 17,000 individuals and nearly 450 businesses.

“We have more than 100 notifications put out in CodeRED since we started,” he said. “All the communities within Washington County have signed up.”

The WCSO pays for half the CodeRED system and communities pay their shares on a per capita rate.

  • Meeting as the Regional Railroad Authority approved a resolution supporting the Gateway Corridor alternatives analysis study and an $85,000 corridor communications contract with Jeff Dreher P.R. County Senior Planner Andy Gitzlaff said the alternatives analysis study calls for a corridor alignment to follow Interstate 94 with 11 stops. The top two transit methods for the corridor in the study are bus rapid transit and light rail. Gitzlaff said approval of the study moves the corridor to the draft environmental statement phase. The communications contract calls for Dreher to provide community outreach and assist with holding corridor-related public meetings, Gitzlaff said. The 12-month contract would be paid by both Washington and Ramsey counties.