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Mille Lacs County, Minnesota

Mille Lacs News

Since 4/18/07

The Minnesota Department of Revenue denies Nexus tax exempt status. See why!

 

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Senator Resigns
No Privatization
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If you tell...
Marching On
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MLA 911 Calls
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Commissioners Fail
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D'Angelo Attacks
NEXUS' Sewer
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Land Deal Extended
Deadline Approaches
Neighbors Gear Up
Nexus Plans Unveiled
Sex Offender Escapes
Exemption Denied
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Is Nexus On Attack?
Nexus Awaits
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Mayor Bullies
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Bradbury Petition
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Annexation
Nexus Steals Home
Nexus Threatens
 

August 14, 2007

Is Nexus on the Attack?

Mille Lacs News Staff Writer

 

While it seems as if nothing at all has been happening with the Nexus project these past long weeks, there is a rumor floating around town that Nexus is planning to sue Mille Lacs County. Whether it's true has yet to be confirmed. "We don't know if they really intend to sue the county, or even if they have any grounds to sue. It could be just another big bluff to pressure officials into granting them property tax exemption or tax abatement," reported one of our sources. "It sounds a little like extortion to say, 'If you don't give me what I want, I'll sue you.'" 

 

But this story may be more about the subtle changes in the public perception of Nexus than about any rumors of lawsuits. People in the Onamia area are interested in what's going on, and more people are beginning to see the sex offender facility as a dim bulb rather than a shining star.

 

"There are still one or two 'naysayers' who have made some pretty vicious comments and personal attacks on my blog," said Hannabelle, author of the Bradbury Buzzz and contributor to the Mille Lacs News. "But I think it could be just one or two guys who are writing comments under different 'anonymous' names. I say some outrageous things on the blog and some folks are offended. But at least a lot of people are reading. For the most part, I've been getting positive feedback. People are starting to rethink this Nexus deal, especially when they realize how it will affect their own taxes." Hannabelle also stated that she sees the juvenile treatment center responsible, at least in part, for dragging down the town.

 

As people are becoming more aware of Nexus' tactics, the likelihood that they would try to bully the county seems less and less far-fetched. However, they may be limited to Tax Court if they are once again denied exemption.

 

Nexus has already threatened to 1) leave the county, 2) leave the state if their demands for property tax exemption are not met. Past attempts at gaining exemption have failed repeatedly. The Minnesota Department of Revenue has reviewed and rejected Nexus' applications time and again, having determined that Nexus is not a charity and does not qualify for property tax exemption.

 

While certain Nexus supporters continue to cling to the notion that Nexus is what keeps this town from dying, the tide of public opinion gradually seems to be turning as local residents become aware of important information previously unavailable to them.

 

For one thing, the amount of violence at the sex offender institution has not only been downplayed to the public, it seems to have been intentionally concealed. Altercations between inmates and staff have resulted in injuries to employees. Runaways have been unreported. Nexus' public relations policy seems to be "what you don't know won't hurt you."

 

But those who live near the facility have a right to know the truth about safety issues. And as long as problems are covered up, people are operating under false assumptions.

 

Yet, it's the property tax exemption issue which seems to trouble most people. One local businessman complained that as the owner of a small business, he had to pay his property taxes while Nexus, a multi-million dollar corporation with an annual budget of 38 million dollars has city officials rallying behind them as they attempt to dodge their tax obligation. "It isn't fair," he said. Apparently, city officials did not show such strong support for Heggie's Pizza, which is relocating to Milaca.

 

Construction on the new Nexus facility was slated to begin in August. That looks unlikely now, with everything put "on hold" and still so much preparation ahead. With time running out and with the pressure on Nexus to go somewhere, it wouldn't be surprising to find Nexus both offensive and defensive at this point. 

 

"The county needs to stand it's ground," another Onamia man advised. "Think of the precedence it would set by handing out such a huge tax break to one business just because they threatened to leave or sue the county."

 

 

 

 

                                                                                               

 

 

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