Abated industries yield 3,414 jobs, $130.6 M payroll

Monday, July 16, 2018

Finding that seven Greencastle industries have more than complied with the employment promises of the terms of their tax abatements, the City Council heard encouraging job figures associated with the latest report from the Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center.

Kristin Clary, executive director of the Development Center, noted that seven existing companies have come before the Council over the last 10 years requesting tax abatement. And “in order for them to stay in good standing,” they come before the Council every year to review compliance promises.

“They file compliance forms with us, with the county assessor and the County Auditor’s Office,” Clary told the Council at its July meeting.

The companies subject to review this time were Ascena Retail, Chiyoda USA, Crown Equipment, Heartland Automotive, IAC (International Automotive Components Corp.) and Phoenix Closures, along with Garmong Development Corp. on the shell building currently leased to Dixie Chopper.

“I want to point out some things,” Clary advised the Council before continuing to add, “Ascena is well over employment numbers. Chiyoda is good on their employment numbers.”

Ascena is at 826 employees, she said, while Chiyoda has grown to 356 with its latest expansion.

“Crown is at 735,” Clary continued, ”which is excellent, way bigger than they anticipated originally.”

Heartland, she reported, is at 631 employees, while IAC has climbed to 762, and Phoenix is at 104, “which is real close to what they wanted to be.”

Those figures yield a total employment of 3,414 among the abated firms with a combined payroll of $130,618,999.

“The average wage per job,” Clary offered, ”doing quick and dirty math -- you take the total payroll and divide by the number of jobs -- is about $38,000 per job.

“Some of these are going to be less than that,” she noted, “and some of those are going to be higher than that, depending on your skills and management level and everything else.”

Clary also said that those positions have generated an impressive $2.285 million in LOIT (local option income tax), achieved by multiplying the payroll by .175 percent.

“So we’re hitting pretty good right there with what we’ve done,” the Development Center director said.

Tax abatement has become a necessary element of luring and securing modern industry, and that point certainly wasn’t lost on the Council or Clary.

“Would they invest and make the decision to expand without our help?” she asked rhetorically. “Perhaps, but we definitely know that what we’re doing is making an impact and making a difference in really encouraging them to stay local and expand.”

Even the firms that have received abatement have been surprised by the employment numbers, Clary suggested.

“A lot of these companies never dreamt that their employment numbers would be as high as they area,” she said. “Crown expected to go to 250, maybe 300, and now we’re seeing Crown sitting at 735.”

Based on everything she’s collected, reviewed and analyzed, Clary recommended approval of the compliance forms and accompanying city resolutions for all seven companies.

“The only anomaly,” she noted, “is Garmong, which is our shell building being rented by Dixie Chopper for storage, warehouse and parts distribution. There are no employment numbers there because Garmong does not employ anybody working there, and there is no personal property there because it’s all owned by Dixie Chopper.”

The only thing on which Garmong must pay taxes is the real property at the site, which will continue for another 18 months, Clary noted.

Meanwhile, Dixie Chopper just recently “committed to two or three more years of leasing that facility,” she told the Council.

All seven tax abatement compliance resolutions were passed on unanimous votes of the Council.

The Greencastle City Council will next meet in regular session at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9 at City Hall.

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