Carbon company tax break OK’d

Linn County Commissioners Roger Nyquist, Sherrie Sprenger and Will Tucker on Tuesday morning, Feb. 7, unanimously approved a three-year property tax abatement for Aymium (formerly National Carbon Technologies), a Minnesota-based carbon production company leasing 33 acres from the county near Millersburg’s new intermodal site.

The tax abatement is through the Linn County Enterprise Zone, Albany-Millersburg Economic Development Corporation President John Pascone noted.

According to its website, Aymium has the “largest biocarbon production facility in North America and has the largest production capacity in the biochar/biocarbon industry.”

The firm will use woody biomass from area forests to produce high-value carbon products to improve metals production, purify air and water, and improve crop production.

Pascone said that Aymium has agreed to pay at least 150% of the county’s average annual wage of $48,986, or $73,479. He added that it will also invest $234 million and start with 40 new jobs, with plans to add more in the future.

He added that the company plans to break ground in early April.

In other business, the commissioners:

— Discussed reactivating a noxious weed committee that became inactive in the mid-1990s. Administrative Officer Darrin Lane said some area residents would like to see the group — which acts in an advisory role only — become active due to what they view as increased weed pressure throughout the valley.

Lane said he plans to attend a meeting of concerned residents and provide them with applications to serve. Commissioner Nyquist said he supported a committee approach, but would not support a taxing district, which some counties have.

♦ Approved vacating a portion of Allen Lane, southwest of Linn-Benton Community College. All of the owners whose properties abut the lane have approved the vacation.

♦ Appointed Keith Kessler to the Linn County Parks & Recreation Commission, Position 5.

♦ Approved filling a General Services Building Maintenance Supervisor position and pay grade. The position has been in the system for years, but has been open. It will be filled in-house, will not increase staffing and will be a Pay Range 20 and with a pay scale up to $7,368 after six years.

♦ Approved maintaining County Commissioner Nyquist, Administrative Officer Lane and former State Rep. Andy Olson on the Linn Economic Development Group board of directors (Mid-Willamette Valley Intermodal Center).

♦ Approved sending a letter to Governor Tina Kotek and state Legislative leaders concerning the ramifications of the implementation of Ballot Measure 110, which reduced charges of possession of hard drugs such as heroin and methamphetamines from felonies to misdemeanors. Fines were reduced to as little as $100.

Nyquist said that communities were seeing the new rules’ negative downside, adding that possession of hard drugs remains a federal crime.

♦ Approved a request by Laura Lynn Weber White Revocable Trust to change the zoning on 60 acres near Lacomb from Exclusive Farm Use to farm/forest.

According to an applicant representative, much of the property is already planted in trees.

Alex Paul, Linn County Communications Officer