MARSHALL - Ralco Nutrition gained room to grow in Marshall, after the Marshall City Council approved a transfer of land for a warehouse expansion for the business on Tuesday night.
At their regular meeting, city council members approved a business subsidy agreement with Ralco Nutrition, Inc. Cal Brink, director of the Marshall Economic Development Authority, said the subsidy would be a transfer of about 14.45 acres of land valued at $361,225, and the cost of construction of public utilities for the construction of a 10,000 square-foot warehouse. Construction would begin by this summer, Brink said.
Additional terms of the agreement included that the warehouse would employ six full-time employees. Ralco would also have right of first refusal on additional land near the property being transferred to the company until 2018, if more expansions are needed.
"We appreciate the opportunity to work with the city of Marshall," said Brian Knochenmus of Ralco. The proposed agreement was a good sign that the city was pro-business, he said.
Council members voted unanimously in favor of the agreement. Council member Charlie Sanow said he appreciated the company's willingness to stay in Marshall.
In an offshoot of the subsidy agreement discussion, council member Dan Ritter said he thought the city should also consider taking action on city regulations that may be burdensome for business and industry - specifically, parking space requirements. In the past, he said, Marshall has required businesses to have a bigger parking area than necessary, but no action was taken.
In other business, the council canvassed municipal votes from the Nov. 6 elections. Marshall city clerk Tom Meulebroeck said there were 6,801 registered voters in Marshall on Nov. 6, plus 1,576 people who registered to vote on Election Day. The total number of votes cast on Election Day, including same-day registrants and absentee voters, was 6,310, Meulebroeck said.
The official winning candidates for Marshall City Council elections were Glenn Bayerkohler in Ward 1 with 1,006 votes, and Ellayne Conyers in Ward 3 with 626 votes. Council member Larry Doom ran unopposed in Ward 2 and received 1,966 votes. Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes ran unopposed for re-election and received 5,464 votes.
Council members also canvassed votes for the questions regarding a .5 percent general sales tax and a 1.5 percent prepared food and beverage tax to raise money for expansions at the MERIT Center and construction and operation of an amateur sports center. Question 1, on the MERIT Center, received 3,641 "yes" votes and 2,415 "no" votes. Question 2, on the sports center, received 3,750 "yes" votes and 2,359 "no" votes.
In discussion later in the meeting, council member Mike Boedigheimer said he thought the council should have a work session to start developing a "plan of attack" for the new amateur sports center and MERIT Center expansion. Past discussions of the two projects had been focused on getting a "yes" vote and not on the details of their design, construction or operation, he said.
Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig said some steps in the planning process would be moving ahead. For example, the ordinances putting the taxes in place would come before the council. The city will also continue seeking additional state funding for the sports center project, he said.