- Associated Press - Sunday, December 25, 2016

ATLANTIC, Iowa (AP) - A new ethanol plant is set to open in southwest Iowa under an agreement between Cass County officials and a private company.

The plant near Atlantic is expected to bring at least 49 jobs to the area. Construction is set to begin in early 2017, with the plan opening around June 2018, the Daily Nonpareil in Council Bluffs (https://bit.ly/2igH6m ) reported.

Elite Octane will spend about $196 million on the project, and the plant will produce about 120 million gallons of ethanol per year. The facility will be one of 21 in the state that produces at least 100 million gallons a year, according to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

The 15-year development agreement calls for the county to install infrastructure to get the 102-acre site ready for the plant. The county will issue a $4 million bond to install roads and create a “gray water” line that will run from the wastewater treatment plant in Atlantic to Elite Octane. The ethanol plant will take water that’s currently discharged into the East Nishnabotna River.

Cass County Supervisor Gaylord Schelling touted the jobs the project will create and noted that construction will bring business to local hotels, restaurants and shops.

“Hopefully, this will help area farmers,” he said. “It’s another business in town. That helps.”

The development agreement will create a tax increment financing district. Starting in 2019, when the plant is operational, the site will be assessed at a value of $32 million. It will owe around $911,000 annually in taxes if current state levy rates are maintained.

Cass County will keep half of that $911,000, while the other half will be rebated back to Elite Octane. The county will use those tax dollars to pay down the $4 million bond, plus interest, over the next 10 to 12 years, Schelling said.

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Information from: The Daily Nonpareil, https://www.nonpareilonline.com

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