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County Council approves tax abatements

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Signs of economic growth were evident during Tuesday's meeting of the Clay County Council.

The council approved the first readings of tax abatement resolutions for both IVC Industrial Coatings, Inc. (personal property), and Process, Development and Fabrication (PDF), Inc. (real estate), along with a pair of inducement resolutions for industrial revenue bonds for IVC.

IVC Chief Financial Officer Ken Wright told the council plans are in place to install three additional product lines at the powder division, 2831 E. Industrial Park Dr., Brazil, which is a project with an approximate cost of $3.8 million.

"This will allow us to fill the building up, and future expansions and additions would require additional real estate," he said.

According to the statement of benefits provided by Attorney Lou Britton, the additional equipment will allow IVC to maintain the 73 current full-time employees, along with providing the opportunity to hire at least 11 new employees with an estimated total salary of $258,000.

Meanwhile, PDF is planning to construct a 26,000-square foot pre-engineered steel building, which carries a project cost of about $1 million.

"With the recent expansions and new equipment we have purchased, the fabrication area has gotten smaller," PDF Owner Ken Maurer said. "This new building will provide more room to work."

The real estate expansion will allow PDF to hire at least another four full-time employees to add to the 98 currently on staff. Maurer added there may be additional part-time hires as well.

The Clay County Redevelopment Commission provided positive recommendations for both abatements, and the council attached a seven-year term on the IVC abatement, and a 10-year term on the abatement for PDF.

Both abatements will be up for final action during the council's October meeting.

For the industrial revenue bonds, Britton explained funding has been made available which allows private companies to take advantage of tax-exempt bonds.

"Unlike normal government bonds, individuals will purchase federal bonds and companies may borrow the industrial revenue bonds at a lower interest rate," Britton said.

He added the bonds may also be used to pay expenses on projects dating back as far as 60 days prior to the issuance of the bond.

Of the two resolutions -- which show the intent to obtain the bonds -- one is designated for the Heartland Disaster Recovery bond, while the other is for a regular industrial revenue bond. Britton said the Heartland bond will be approached first as it better suits the needs of IVC.

He also emphasized the bonds also come with no potential liability on the county for issuing the bonds.

"The county would be in no way responsible for the projects these bonds would fund," Britton said.

Council President Mike McCullough said he is thrilled with what area companies are doing for the community.

Mike McCullough
"It is great to see companies within the county expand and grow," he said. "I still get calls from people who are angry thinking we are allowing companies to not pay taxes, but abatements are only a phase-in of new taxes on top of what they are currently paying."

Wright added abatements help attract industry, and the results are starting to show in Clay County.

"It is kind of a way of rewarding faith in a company to succeed because we will be paying real estate, payroll and personal property taxes long after I am gone," Wright said. "Abatements are your investment in our businesses and it is paying off."

In other business during Tuesday's meeting, the County Council:

* Suspended the rules to pass an ordinance establishing a non-reverting fund for county employee health insurance on the first reading. Currently, any unused health insurance funds revert back into the General Fund at the end of the year, and this fund would allow the premiums to be paid out of one location, and any encumbered funds would roll over to the following year, with the potential to build,

* Approved an amended salary ordinance of $20 an hour within the Local Health Maintenance Fund for a PRN Nurse, which would be utilized during shot clinics, in part, for flu and other school-mandated vaccinations,

* Approved a $300 transfer within the Veterans Fund to allow for the purchase of a new printer/copier/fax machine, and

* Declined to pass a job position description for a potential Assistant Chief Dispatcher/E-911 Coordinator. Council members agreed to wait to see if the legislature will increase the cell phone fee, which goes into the E-911 PSAP Fund, in order to be able to fund the creation of the new position.

The next meeting of the Clay County Council will be 6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 4, in the Commissioners' Courtroom at the Clay County Courthouse.

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