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More from Tuesday night’s City Council meeting

The City Council and Mayor Eric Bookmeyer met at the Mason City Public Library Tuesday night. Among the highlights of the meeting:|The City Council and Mayor Eric Bookmeyer met at the Mason City Public Library Tuesday night. Among the highlights of the meeting:

Soy Energy
The Council unanimously approved a development agreement with Soy Energy, LLC. Rick Davis, a general manager at Soy Energy, answered questions pertaining to an agreement between the City and Soy. Soy is refurbishing the former Freedom Fuels bio-diesel plant in Mason City. The City extended financial incentive to Soy to make the investment in Mason City. Soy agreed to make $10 million in improvements to the plant and will receive TIG rebates for that. Soy Energy also manufactures bio-diesel fuel, derived from corn oil. Davis confirmed that the plant should have a positive affect on area farmers, and that some local construction firms are helping with projects to get the plant up and running. Soy has agreed to create 20 new jobs by year two at a minimum wage of $16/hour.

Downtown grant application
The Council approved a resolution authorizing the submission of a CDBG Downtown Revitalization grant application to the IDED to assist downtown property owners with exterior storefront improvements. The vote was 4-2 in favor, with Don Nelson and Jeff Marsters against. The City would have to match some of the grant funds. Don Nelson, voting no, asked “when is enough enough?” for investing in downtown improvements with taxpayer dollars.

Visit Mason City
The Council voted 5-1 to terminate a 28E agreement with the Chamber of Commerce, and then voted 5-1 to assist the Visit Mason City agency to become a stand-alone agency. Scott Tornquist voted no on both items, calling the process by which the issue reached the Council agenda “bizarre.” was told by Travis Hickey and Max Weaver that Tornquist refused to discuss the issue with them over the phone. Other Council had expressed concern that they felt the Chamber of Commerce exerted too much influence over Visit Mason City, which currently shares offices, staff and equipment with the Chamber. Most felt there would be little or no financial benefit to the move. Robin Anderson, Chamber Director, said the Chamber will help make the transition smooth for Visit Mason City.

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