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Update : IFA Approves Bonds

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Iowa Fertilizer Company (IFC) has received some good news from the state in regards to its plan to build a production plant in northern Lee County.

The Iowa Finance Authority’s Board of Directors has approved the company's request to access nearly $1.2-billion worth of federal tax-exempt Midwestern Disaster Area Bonds.

The bonds were made available by the federal government after the Flood of 2008 to help businesses relocate or rebuild.

IFC did not suffer damage during the flood because it was not operating in southeast Iowa during the natural disaster.

Lori Beary with the Iowa Finance Authority says the company is eligible because the bonds do not have to be used to replace a specific business.

“Our interpretation is that almost any business could be considered to be replacing a business because so many businesses were lost,” says Beary, “and the IRS allows us to take a very broad definition of that.”

Beary says these disaster bonds would have a lower interest rate than any bonds the company could obtain on its own, which would save IFC money.

She says there is a rush to issue the bonds as they are set to expire December 31.

The decision followed a public hearing in Fort Madison Thursday morning.

About 50 people attended the 45-minute hearing at the Fort Madison Public Library.

The hearing was to be held in Des Moines earlier in the week, but a request led to it being moved to Lee County.

14 people spoke on both sides of the issue during the meeting. 

Supporters said the jobs that will be created in connection with the plant are necessary while opponents do not understand how IFC qualifies for disaster-related bonds.

Beary says the Iowa Finance Authority's role in the project is basically over.

Meanwhile, Iowa Fertilizer Company is scheduled to break ground on its plant near Wever Monday afternoon.  Governor Terry Branstad is expected to attend.