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New manufacturer gets 10-year tax abatement

Martinrea, one of Harrison County’s newest manufacturing ventures, got a property tax break Monday night.
On a motion by Harrison County Councilman Chris Timberlake, seconded by Kenneth Saulman, the council unanimously gave Martinrea a 10-year personal property tax abatement on a $3 million additional investment in machinery at the former Oxford automotive parts plant in Corydon. Council members Alvin Brown, Rhonda Rhoads, Ralph Sherman and Carl (Buck) Mathes also voted in favor of the tax abatement. As chair, Gary Davis was not required to vote.
Martinrea purchased Oxford in February, after the plant filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Dec. 7, and the Corydon plant became one of Oxford’s five U.S. plants to be sold as part of the restructuring plan.
Martinrea’s purchase kept 296 production jobs in Corydon plus a sales and administrative staff of about 30, with a payroll of $10.9 million annually. The company owns 18 plants worldwide, of which seven are in the United States, two in Indiana, here and in North Vernon.
On the first year of Martinrea’s tax abatement, 100 percent of the tax bill will be forgiven; after that, the amount of taxes that have to be paid increases each year.
In other matters, the council tabled a request from the three commissioners for $1 million each for blacktop, the amount that’s been allowed each year since riverboat revenue began to flow.
This year the council is reluctant to bank on any amount of money. That’s because the state legislature threatens to take all but $4 million of the $24.3 million Harrison County gets each year from the Caesars’ riverboat casino. Even if Harrison County’s revenue survives the threat, the council will probably remain gun-shy.
‘We won’t know if we’re out of the woods until the legislature adjourns,’ said Davis. ‘Rest assured we will do everything and anything we can to avoid this bullet.
‘If we dodge the bullet this time, it will be back.’
Referring to the resignation of county engineer Darin Duncan, which takes effect on April 18, Commissioner J.R. Eckart said the commissioners have appointed engineer Kevin Russell as interim engineer. After 90 days, Eckart said the commissioners should know whether another engineer will be needed.
The council approved the following requests from riverboat revenue:
‘ Revenue sharing with Crawford, Floyd and Washington counties, New Albany and the 10 towns in Harrison County, totaling $272,202 (rounded);
‘ Infrastructure funds for Harrison County’s nine towns (New Amsterdam is not included because only one person was counted in the 2000 census) totaling $10,575;
‘ Infrastructure funds for gravel in each of the three commissioners’ districts, $300,000;
‘ Education funds for training for veteran service officer Marion Wallace, $750;
‘ Education funds for ‘distance learning’ at Harrison County Lifelong Learning, $8,000;
‘ Human services funds to retain an Indianapolis law firm to represent the county against claims filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the sheriff’s department, $22,000;
‘ Contingency funds to purchase a computer program that helps with recordkeeping and research of minutes, $2,750; and
‘ Contingency funds to enter into a contract with a company to collect any additional incentive funds due the county for collecting child support, $28,800.