MOORHEAD – A property tax exemption for a towing company that plans to expand was approved Monday by the Moorhead City Council.

Joe Lomsdal of Aggressive Towing & Recovery plans construction of a 4,600-square-foot building with offices, a shop and a wash bay at 2636 16th Ave. S., according to city records. The property is now a concrete parking lot surrounded by fencing.

“This’ll be a real nice addition,” Moorhead City Administrator Michael Redlinger told the council before it unanimously approved the exemption.

The expansion is expected to create the need for an additional part-time job for a dispatcher, adding to the towing company’s existing six full-time employees.

The parking lot’s value is estimated at $90,000 and the new building, which will have 18-foot walls with steel siding and roof, will be worth $280,000, city records say.

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At the current 1.6 percent tax rate, the company’s total benefit from the exemption will be $13,440 over a three-year period.

Construction is to begin as soon as possible and may be completed in December. The exemption would begin in 2016.

The council also voted 7-1 to prohibit the use of electronic cigarettes wherever tobacco cigarette use is banned by the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act.

Only council member Mari Dailey voted against because she said she did not believe the vapors were any more harmful than passing oil trains or legally consumed alcohol.

Dailey also said the ban is an example of overregulation.

“Our already overextended city staff would be required to do compliance,” Dailey said.

Council member Nancy Otto called e-cigarettes “a gateway to addiction” and Redlinger said the ban would mainly be enforced on a complaint basis.

Electronic and tobacco cigarettes are already banned in the same places in North Dakota.

The penalty for violators is a petty misdemeanor.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Adrian Glass-Moore at (701) 241-5599