Council hears National Beef expansion abatement update

Tama Council discussed tax abatement for a $100 million expansion plan at National Beef during Tuesday’s council meeting.

National Beef Packing Company announced on March 17 plans to increase capacity and add a second production shift at its Iowa Premium beef processing facility in Tama. Total investment will be more than $100 million and will double the capacity of the plant to approximately 2,500 head per day as well as add 800 new jobs.

While no consensus for tax abatement has been reached a proposal put together by Tama County Economic Director, Katherine Ollendieck presented the council with two options both of which included 100% abatement for a number of years.

Iowa Premium reopened the Tama beef plant, known locally for many years as “Tama Pack” in 2014 after reportedly upwards of $50 million was spent by Sysco Foods to modernize and enlarge the facility. Iowa Premium was then sold to National Beef Packing Company in 2019. The plant employs more than 850.

The city is currently in year seven of tax abatement with National Beef from when they reopened the plant in 2014. Tama is just starting to see money come in from the plant.

Some considerations the council is mulling when deciding how much to abate or to abate at all include the likely uptick in an already struggling ambulance department along with wear and tear on roads from increased semi traffic.

“When Jon Surman came on board he said he was always going to give back to the town,” Mayor Doug Ray said, “I’d like to see a little bit more of that happen. I’m talking Tama. We are the ones giving them the break. We are the ones who have the fire department and ambulance going out there. That is where we are going to need some help and we need it now. So I’d like to see them step up to the plate and help out.”

Ollendieck encouraged the council to go home and play with the numbers to see what would be financially responsible for the city.

“They (National Beef) do have options. We are not their only option for expansion. If we don’t offer an incentive there is a possibility I could be coming back to a meeting in 3-5 weeks saying well we don’t have to talk about this anymore because they picked somewhere else,” Ollendieck said.

National Beef Packing Company is a leading supplier of high-quality beef and beef by-products. The company employs more than 9,500 and achieved annual sales of $9.4 billion in 2020.

Downtown Outdoor Dining

Downtown Outdoor dining for businesses on 3rd and 4th sidewalks was approved by the council. The program will run through October 31 and is subject to renewal in a year.

The program is modeled after Dysart’s downtown sidewalk dining.

Guidelines include: the sidewalk dining must be directly adjacent to the retail food establishment, at least 10′ from any driveway or alleyway, at least 15′ from any fire hydrant or stand pipe, does not block underground utility access points, ventilation areas or meters, does not block h/c ramps or other features for physically challenged persons, does not have permanent fixtures, facilities or structures, maximum height for umbrella is 8′ and maximum heigh for fencing is 4′, sidewalk/paver area clean and sanitary, free of litter and food products, has a barrier system separating dining area from pedestrian passageway and must follow the Iowa Liquor Licensing guidelines for outdoor service.

It will be up to individual businesses regarding the hours for sidewalk dining.

In other council business the council approved

a purchase by Tim Bradley for property on Business 30.

yearly donations for $200 to the Food Pantry, $200 to Meals on Wheels, $2,500 to STC Rec and $5,000 for city of Toledo fireworks.

$5,051 purchase for mulch around playground equipment. A grant is expected for $1,000 from iCAP.

the American Rescue Plan.