Green Light for CF Industries $1.7 Billion Expansion

A plant that could create hundreds of new jobs in Siouxland is getting another green light.

Last November CF Industries announced plans to build a $1.7 billion dollar fertilizer plant just south of Sioux City. Tuesday the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors approved a series of tax breaks and a development agreement.

The expansion of CF Industries makes it the single largest capital investment Iowa has ever seen.

"It is the biggest project Woodbury County has ever seen in its existence and the numbers are hard even to fathom on how big it is. There's just so many zeros," said Jaclyn Smith, Woodbury County Board Supervisor.

Eight of them - but who's counting.

"The opportunity is here and we're going to capitalize on it," said Smith.

The first step was signing off on the development agreement and creating a tax reduction schedule. Starting in 2016, CF will be exempt from 100% of its taxes, the following year: 96% and by 2026: 56%. At the end of it all, it will no longer be exempt of taxes - that's in 2036.

"Over the 20 years, it will generate, even with abatements, it's going to generate about $127 million worth of taxes. Yes, for CF it gives that a $162 million tax break but over 20 years it's well worth every dollar you give. It's taxes we never had before. So, you know it's a little give or take on both sides," said Dennis Butler, the County Finance and Operations Controller.

He says that economic development tool helps attracts other businesses as well as more housing, grocery stores, possibly even truck stops and motels.

The two lane road leading up to CF Industries is not very wide yet big semi-trucks travel it every day which is one reason why the Woodbury County Board of supervisors chose to approve expanding it. CF says there's a lot of traffic on the road already but when the expansion comes there'll be even more.

"Everybody around Salix, Brown Lake and all the farmers around there, they need to know what's going to happen and be prepared for it," said Butler.

The CF industries expansion is happening right now but it will be fully functional by 2016.