Agreement reached on former Stinger Welding building

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After roughly six months of outside-of-court mediation, the Lincoln County Port Authority and Fisher Industries are ready to seek a buyer for the building that once housed Stinger Welding.

The legally binding settlement agreement was executed on Wednesday, Nov. 8, said Tina Oliphant, executive director of the Port Authority.

“All (legal) disputes have been resolved,” Oliphant said. “The next step is how are we going to jointly market this facility. Of course, the Port Authority’s goal is attracting a business to invest in Libby and one of the outcomes of that is additional jobs.”

Part of the dispute concerned each party’s percentage of ownership of the property. Citing confidentiality, Oliphant said she was “not comfortable with sharing” the terms they reached.

The Port Authority and Fisher Industries also had to contend with the handling of outstanding tax liens on the property. Oliphant said the Port Authority would take on a county property tax liability of roughly $275,000 including penalties and interest, while Fisher Industries would be responsible for state and federal tax liens. She said she didn’t know the value of those tax liens but that Fisher Industries has already paid part of the amount.

Fisher Industries did not respond by deadline to a request for comment.

Oliphant stressed that both parties were willing participants in the mediation, which was not court ordered.

“It’s very good news,” she said. “The next steps are how we get exposure for (reaching the agreement), of course, and seeing what that means for the future of Libby.”

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