April 27, 2021 Special City Council Meeting and Public Hearing Minutes

A Public Hearing at a special meeting of the City Council of the City of International Falls, Minnesota was held in the Council Chambers of the Municipal Building and via BlueJeans Conferencing on the 27th day of April, 2021 at the hour of 5:00 P.M.

 MEMBERS PRESENT:                Councilors Buller, Ditsch, Krause, and Mayor Droba.

                                                       Media and public via BlueJeans Conferencing.  All members noted they could hear the others and the discussion.

MEMBERS ABSENT:                  Councilor Holden.


Presentation by Tammy Omdal, Northland Securities Tammy Omdal, Northland Securities, explained that Northland Securities has performed a financial analysis of IFalls Group, LLC [Cobblestone Inn & Suites] on behalf of the City of International Falls.  IFalls Group, LLC submitted an application for property tax abatement, in the form of a business subsidy, which would result in an increase of the tax base of the city and provide employment opportunities in International Falls.  IFalls Group, LLC plans to construct an eighty-six (86) room hotel.  Ms. Omdal stated that the financial analysis completed by Northland Securities determined that the completion of this project is not feasible without tax abatement.  Northland Securities is recommending tax abatement not to exceed $1.275 million over a ten (10) year period, with the aggregate total abatement paid by the City to the Developer not to exceed $965,000, and shall be payable from 75% of the City’s share of the taxes derived from the construction of the project on the abatement property.
IFalls Group, LLC comments Michael Tamilia, IFalls Group, LLC, stated that the project has been in the works for over two and a half years and was nearly stopped due to financial setbacks.  Lawrence Maksymetz, IFalls Group, LLC, echoed Mr. Tamilia’s statements saying that this project would not be moving forward if it were not for help from Mr. Brian Wogernese of Cobblestone and the approval of tax abatement to make the project financially viable.
Public input/questions/comments Paul Nevanen, Director of the Koochiching Economic Development Authority (KEDA), spoke in support of the project, stating KEDA already voted and approved this project.  Mr. Nevanen stated that this project has been in the works for over two years, and while it has faced many hurdles, the developers have persevered and worked hard financing the project to ensure that the project moves ahead.  Mr. Nevanen noted that due to economics, developments like these almost always require tax abatement or some form of assistance.  Mr. Nevanen noted that the last hospitality project constructed in International Falls was in the 1980s and the area is in need of this first class property development.
CLOSED the public hearing There being no further public comment, Mayor Droba closed the public hearing at 5:13 P.M.
ADOPTED Resolution No. 27-2021 authorizing the abatement of taxes and granting a business subsidy, and authorizing execution of a tax abatement agreement for IFalls Group LLC MOTION by Councilor Krause to adopt Resolution No. 27-2021 authorizing the abatement of taxes pursuant to

Minnesota statutes, section 469.1812 through 469.1815 and granting a business subsidy.  Motion seconded by Councilor Buller and carried unanimously.

MOTION by Councilor Ditsch to authorize execution of the tax abatement agreement by the Mayor and Interim City Administrator.  Motion seconded by Councilor Krause and carried unanimously.

Mayor Droba thanked Tammy Omdal of Northland Securities for all of her work on this matter and thanked the IFalls Group LLC and Cobblestone Inn and Suites for their investment in our community.

ADJOURNMENT Mayor Droba adjourned the meeting at 5:18 P.M.


Harley M. Droba, Mayor



Betty Bergstrom, Interim City Administrator

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