Job creation/retention ahead of schedule for county companies

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The eight companies receiving receiving tax abatements from Putnam County are, for the most part, ahead of schedule with their job creation and retention numbers.

Greencastle/Putnam County Economic Development Director Kristin Clary reported to the Putnam County Council on Tuesday that the eight companies requesting continuing abatement — Buzzi Unicem (Lonestar), Cash Concrete, Legan Livestock, Midwest Calcium Carbonates (MCC), North American Limestone Co. (NALC), POET, Scorpion and Spear Corp. — currently represent 404 jobs added or retained by their abatements.

These jobs represent $20,921,108 in total payroll as well as 31 more positions than those promised when the individual abatements were requested over the course of the last seven years.

The abatements, often classified as “tax phase-ins” by former Economic Development Director Bill Dory, represent a seven-year property tax ramp-up period in which the companies invest in their local operations with the promise of jobs added or retained. At the end of the period, the county has major investments in both real estate and personal property fully on the tax rolls.

The abatements for the eight companies represent total real estate investment of $21,116,820 and total personal property investment is $102,139,879.

Individually, the numbers are at or ahead of schedule for nearly all of the companies.

Buzzi Unicem has total employment of 176, compared to the promised number of 167. POET employs 57, compared to 40 promised. Cash has 27, compared to 21 pledged.

Spear represents 44 jobs, compared to 40 pledged, while MCC is employing nine, compared to the pledged number of eight.

Both NALC (49 employees) and Legan Livestock (23 employees) have hit their marks exactly.

Only Scorpion, with 19 employees compared to 25 pledged, is currently below the mark.

On the other hand, Scorpion is only into the second of seven years of its abatement.

The main questions of council members revolved around this last set of numbers, with Councilman Dave Fuhrman expressing concern.

“These guys (Scorpion) are going in the wrong direction of what they promised,” Fuhrman said.

“If they continue this way,” Councilman Larry Parker added, “I’d like them to come back next year and tell us what’s going on.”

Clary agreed to this request.

With these concerns in mind, the resolution for Scorpion’s abatement was the only one that passed with any opposition at 4-1. Fuhrman cast the lone dissenting vote, while Parker, Darrel Thomas, Keith Berry and Jill Bridgewater all voted affirmatively.

In the other seven cases, the resolutions passed 4-0, with Thomas abstaining from the votes.

Councilmen Phil Gick and Gene Beck were not in attendance.

In other business:

• The Council officially approved funding for a new jail control panel in the amount of $152,400, taken from the Cumulative Jail Fund.

• An additional appropriation of $54,500 was approved for Walnut Creek Fire Protection District for the purchase of a new truck and equipment for the Bainbridge Fire Department.

• A $6,000 additional appropriation was approved for the Assessor’s Office to purchase a new server.

One of the old servers crashed recently and was repaired. However, Assessor Nancy Dennis believed it was time to move forward with and replace the five-year-old server.

The purchase was made with funds already available elsewhere in the department budget.

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