Posted on

Lose some, gain more

While Harrison County forgave more than $600,000 in property taxes from companies getting tax abatements last year, the county gained more than $800,000 in paid property taxes.
Four businesses appeared before the Harrison County Council Monday night and were given continued tax abatements for complying with state regulations.
In Indiana, companies can get tax abatements as an incentive to increase jobs and payrolls. The increased property values are taxed on a sliding scale for five or 10 years, depending on council rulings.
The state has shifted the responsibility to the council to decide which businesses are keeping the promises they made to get the tax abatement, said council chair Gary Davis.
Among those businesses on the agenda Monday night, the council unanimously voted to certify the following as having met their promises: Mulzer Crushed Stone, Smith Store Fixtures, Oxford Automotive and Tower Automotive.
The businesses that reported said there are more jobs and higher payroll than first estimated.
For instance:
John Land, representing Mulzer Crushed Stone, said Mulzer’s employees increased from 32 to 43 during the abatement time and wages increased from $850,000 to $1.6 million.
Mulzer last year paid $64,200 in property taxes in Harrison County.
Steve Smith of Smith Store Fixtures showed an employee increase from 32 to 73 the last 10 years. He said the company has made $3.6 million in improvements during that time. However, the necessary paperwork for a tax abatement last year has not yet been filed, but the council agreed to allow a correction.
Mike Boykin, a property tax consultant representing Oxford Automotive, reported an employee gain from 264 in 2000 to 421 currently. Wages increased from more than $8 million in 2000 to more than $13 million now. Last year, Oxford paid $212,971 in property taxes.
Roger Donaldson of Tower Automotive said the plant had 450 employees when the abatement was granted; now the plant has 769 employees. The payroll is more than $97 million, or $20 million more than promised. Last year, the company paid more than $379,000 in real and personal property taxes.
Companies that are not in compliance with earlier promises did not appear before the council Monday night. Unless those companies reapply, their abatements will be cancelled.
In other matters Monday night:
‘ A $256,500 state grant for Spencer Township to construct a firehouse and meeting hall was not approved this year, Davis announced.
Township trustee Donnie Satterfield will be encouraged to file next year, Davis said, and until that time, the county’s 100 percent match ($256,500) will continue to be set aside in the riverboat revenue accounts.
‘I want them to try to get that thing done,’ said Councilman Carl Duley.
The money could be used in the meantime and another matching amount set aside later, but Councilmen Alvin Brown and Carl (Buck) Mathes were concerned the money would not be available. So, Duley’s motion to rescind the appropriation was dropped. ‘Nobody wants to do it; that’s OK,’ Duley said.
‘ The council learned that a grant has been approved to construct a second Wyandotte House. The new facility in Corydon will be available for girls who need a temporary home; the old facility will be used by the boys.
‘ An application for money to construct a half-way house in Corydon was not approved this year. The House of New Beginnings will apply again during the next state grant cycle.
‘ Douglas Robson, director of Harrison County Lifelong Learning, brought the council up to date on a proposal to move the offices to the 101 Building in Corydon (because more space is needed) and a long-range proposal to construct a facility to house both Lifelong Learning and the Harrison County Extension Service. An additional facility could be constructed should Indiana University or Ivy Tech State College decide to locate satellite campuses here.
No action was required.
The next Harrison County Council meeting is July 12 at 7 p.m. Other council members are Ralph Sherman, Rhonda Rhoads and Kenneth Saulman. Saulman was unable to attend Monday night’s meeting.