GREENCASTLE -- With the new owner of the Cloverdale ethanol plant investing $30 million in the facility, the Putnam County Council moved Tuesday night to grant a tax abatement on the property.
The move actually involved two separate abatements. The first is being transferred to POET after it was originally granted to previous owner Altra Biofuels.
The second part of the move is a new abatement on the $30 million investment POET is now making to improving the plant.
Putnam County Economic Development Director Bill Dory reminded the council during the public hearing that the abatement is more of a "phase-in" of local property taxes, as more and more is paid over the life of the abatement.
On the existing abatement, an estimated $650,000 will be paid in taxes on real estate improvements over seven years, while approximately $1.8 million will be paid on existing equipment.
Under the new abatement, POET will pay approximately $450,000 on real estate improvements over 10 years and an estimated $560,000 on new equipment.
The county will also collect approximately $30,000 a year in local income taxes from POET employees.
Dory also emphasized what POET's presence should do for local taxpayers, stabilizing the tax rate in the South Putnam school district as well as countywide.
The presence of the plant could also be a benefit to local farmers, giving them a new place to sell corn. The plant will be purchasing an estimated 30 million bushels of corn each year, most of which should come within a 50-mile radius of the plant.
"This project's unique in that if a local farmer wants to sell their corn to POET, they can do that," Dory said. "This is a project that can put some revenue in the pockets of local farmers if they choose to sell to POET."
Two POET representatives, Director of Site Development Bob Berens and General Manager Dave Brooks, were also present Tuesday. Berens gave a brief presentation to the board on the company's history, place in the market and future plans, including how the local plant fits into those.
Council unanimously voted to extend and grant the abatements.
POET is currently in the process of hiring management staff for the plant and will be looking to hire hourly workers toward the end of the year.
Locally, the company plans to employ 40 people -- 25 hourly and 15 management.