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State board approves seeking abatement on Howard property

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PIERRE -- The state Board of Economic Development will seek a partial abatement of property taxes from the city of Howard and Miner County for an industrial building the board and Heartland Consumers Power District jointly owned for 315 days in 2013.

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The property was used to secure a state loan. The board and Heartland took possession Feb. 19, 2013. The board was assessed 74.98 percent of the total taxes payable in 2014 and Heartland the remainder.

The board's share came to $16,378.60 for the year. However, the South Dakota Constitution provides that state government isn't required to pay property taxes. The board voted Tuesday to pursue the abatement for the period when the property was in its ownership.

The board will still owe $2,243.64 for the period of Jan. 1 through Feb. 18, 2013, period before taking possession.

Tim Engel, a Pierre lawyer who represents the board, said he has conferred with the Miner County state's attorney. The recommended route was seeking the abatement.

Engel said the first step will be filing a request with the city government followed by making a request to the county government.

The taxable value of the building and two lots totaling 6.42 acres was $741,357. A total of $21,838.41 of county, school, city and water district taxes are owed, according to the county treasurer's notice to the state board and Heartland.

In other action Tuesday, the board made amendments to policies for the Building South Dakota programs created by the Legislature last year and renewed a credit-liquidation services contract with DAKA Group of Sioux Falls.

"Historically we have not come close using the $45,000 under that contract," Travis Dovre, a member of the Governor's Office of Economic Development staff, told the board.

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