During Wednesday's meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil, the first reading on a pair of tax abatements for Morris Manufacturing and Sales Corporation were accepted.
Morris submitted abatements for both real estate and personal property which, according to the statement of benefits, will allow the company to retain its current 151 employees and add at least another 40.
The real estate abatement would be for numerous buildings and additions including:
* A 40,500-square foot pre-engineered steel building addition to the main building, which broke ground in January,
* A 5,000-square foot post frame addition to the shipping/receiving building,
* A 3,200-square foot post frame addition to the WIP building, and
* A 1,540-square foot dunnage storage addition to the shipping/receiving building.
According to the statement of benefits, office areas will be constructed in the steel building for a quality lab, production and employee lockers.
Regarding the personal property abatement, the company intends to purchase numerous pieces of equipment which come to a project total of $1.2 million.
With the first reading of the abatements approved, they will be up for final action during the council's October meeting.
Meanwhile, the council considered 2-percent pay raise ordinances for all city firefighters, police officers and city employees as part of the 2011 budget.
Clerk-Treasurer Karen McQueen told the council the potential salary increases add up to an additional $45,000, not including the golf fund, in the budget.
"The pay raises fit into the budget just fine," she said.
Mayor Ann Bradshaw added she had invested several hours worth of discussions with Umbaugh and Associates, Indianapolis, CPA Principal Dan Hedden reviewing potential salary options.
"We looked at various possibilities including 2.5 and 3 percent increases, to determine what, if any pay raises would fit into our budget for next year," Bradshaw told The Brazil Times. "We have a lot of hard-working employees who deserve a bump in pay if we were able to afford it, and the numbers show that we are."
Council member Sam Glover questioned why the city would include the raises for entry-level experience, which McQueen replied was partially due to it making jobs look more attractive.
Bradshaw added elected officials would not be receiving the 2-percent salary increase.
After further discussion on the matter, the council unanimously suspended the rules and passed the ordinances on the first reading.
In other business during Wednesday's meeting, the Common Council of the City of Brazil:
* Approved an ordinance to create two 16-foot on handicapped parking spaces on the east side of North Washington Street, immediately to the west of the Clay County Historical Society,
* Conducted a brief discussion on the possibility of increasing the cost of opening and closing graves. The current cost is $400, which is no longer sufficiently covering the cost of maintaining the three cemeteries within the city. The city also has plans to possibly open more area for plots and add items for further beautification of the cemeteries, and
* During the audience comments portion of the meeting, heard concerns from Mary I. Hendrickson regarding a short green light when traveling north or south on Lambert Street at the intersection with National Avenue, protecting those riding motorized scooters in the city and the need to create temporary loading/unloading spaces in front of the Community Theatre on nights there are performances. Council members were in favor of designating two spaces for those purposes on performance nights, and City Attorney Bob Pell said he would look into if the city could possibly create an ordinance to reflect that due to the area being on a highway.
The council will meet in a special session at 7 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 15, in the Council Chambers at City Hall to conduct a public hearing and possible passage of the 2011 budget.
The next regular meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil will be 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 13, in the same location.