Supervisors continue financial talk in Heartland Co-Op project

The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors continue to review the financial aspects of a potential grain elevator facility east of Fairfield.

On Monday, the supervisors approved the hiring of financial consultant Jeff Hile from Northland Securities. The supervisors also explained to the 25 or so residents present that the county does not have a legally binding contract with Heartland Co-Op just yet. Right now, there is only a memorandum of understanding as both sides work out the financial details.

Right now, the first two phases of the project, which would be completed simultaneously, have been estimated at $15.5 million. Board of Supervisors Chairman Lee Dimmitt said there are several options the county is looking at when it comes to funding that infrastructure.

Whichever way the county goes about it, Dimmitt said the project will be beneficial for producers not just in Jefferson County, but across Southeast Iowa.

"I talked to several of our producers locally who have indicated that they'll save 10 to 15 cents a bushel on transportation costs," he said. "So even if there isn't a bump in the price per bushel, [it's] what they save in transportation costs hauling either to Big River or Eddyville or wherever."

Dimmitt said there has been concern expressed regarding existing businesses and the competition bringing Heartland Co-Op to the area might present, but overall, the feedback has been about 95% positive.

Next, the supervisors will meet with Hile on April 7th to continue financial discussions. Heartland Co-Op is looking to break ground on the project in May or June.