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Emotional meeting ends in defeat for Prestage hog plant

John Lee
John Lee

MASON CITY – The Prestage Foods hog processing plant that seemed like a done deal just hours ago was defeated with a tie vote Wednesday morning.

The 3-3 vote came after Bill Schickel revealed he would not be supporting the development and then in a bombshell emotional moment, John Lee said he would be voting no. The council had been considering an economic development package for Prestage Foods worth over $15 million over 10 years of tax breaks.

Mr. Lee had seemed like a solid backer of the project until he began to talk about his family and the hours upon hours of time he had dedicated to researching the proposed $240 million development with Prestage Foods. He referenced a note that his daughter had written and slid under a door at their home, in which she wrote to her dad that she knew he would do the right thing.

The 3-3 tie vote essentially stops the Prestage development.  There is always a chance – however unlikely – that more negotiations could take place between Prestage and the City and another development agreement brought forward.  It was mentioned in the meeting that Prestage had looked at Charles City as a possible destination.

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