McPherson County Commissioners gave their backing to industrial revenue bonds issued that could benefit a McPherson industry.
The Hesston City Council approved the issuance of $4 million in bonds for the expansion of the Excel Industries, Inc., facility. Excel is a manufacturer of Hustler lawn mowers.
Because about $400,000 of the bonds could go toward new equipment at Ferguson Production, 2130 Industrial Drive, the McPherson County Commission also had to vote on the IRBs.
Attorney J.T. Klaus, Triplett, Woolf & Garretson, LLC., Wichita, represented the city of Hesston at the hearing and said there was no downside to the county in approving the bonds.
“There is no sales tax exemption for McPherson County,” Klaus said. “There’s no property tax abatement for McPherson County. There is no fiscal harm with this for McPherson County.”
No members of the public spoke out during the hearing and the motion passed to approve the bonds unanimously.
In other business —
• Commissioners gave their approval to a motion allowing the Central Kansas Conservancy to make a $1,000 deposit toward any upkeep of the Meadowlark Trail handled by the county. The deposit would go toward the spraying of weeds, collection of any litter and the posting of signage along the six-mile section of the trail currently either in usage or in active development through the end of 2013.
• The commission held off on making a decision on a request from Elite Wireless and NexTech Wireless to construct a 150-foot cell phone tower on a corner of the McPherson County Public Works yard. The request comes as the companies are looking to expand service in the southern sections of McPherson. However, questions were raised by the commissioners as to availability of other land and whether granting the request would cause tax exemption issues. McPherson city staff also have raised concerns about the height of the tower, especially considering the close proximity of the McPherson Airport. Public Works Director Tom Kramer was instructed to seek more information before a decision could be reached.
• Commissioners also gave their consent to a 2.8 percent average increase in the 2013 county health insurance premiums. A single county employee will see a $2 jump in his/her costs per paycheck, while a family premium will increase by $7. County Administrator Rick Witte reported this was the first such increase in about three years. The employees’ deductible will remain the same.