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Council approves tax break for Awningtec

In a surprise motion Monday night, the Harrison County Council unanimously approved a tax abatement for Awningtec USA, a Corydon business that manufactures backlit awnings and illuminated signs.
The quick action was a surprise because some did not believe the council would be ready to act on the tax abatement so quickly.
The council first declared Awningtec’s land an economic revitalization area after a short public hearing on the matter.
Council chairman Carl (Buck) Mathes then told Darrell Voelker, director of the Harrison County Economic Development Corp., that the council would table voting on the tax abatement until the next meeting if the rest of the council agreed.
‘I would just like for the new members to have a chance to soak this all in,’ Mathes told Voelker.
Councilman Gordon Pendleton didn’t need more time.
‘I’d just as soon go ahead with it,’ Pendleton said, making a motion to approve the tax abatement. The motion, seconded by William (Bill) Nichols, passed 6-0.
Awningtec president Mansen Way recently purchased adjacent property owned by Robert Hollis of Corydon, a piece of which will be included in the tax abatement if it is properly rezoned to I-1a. The Harrison County Advisory Plan Commission is expected to make a decision on the zoning change next month.
The tax abatement will help Awningtec with a planned 25,000 square-foot expansion. They currently have about 15,000 square feet under roof.
Voelker said Awningtec was prepared to invest $445,000 in real-estate improvements and $390,000 in personal property, which includes production equipment, if granted the tax abatement.
Awningtec expects an initial addition of eight employees with combined salaries of $240,000.
In other matters Monday night, the council:
‘ Approved a $100,000 request from Superior Court Judge Roger Davis for costs relating to court cases.
‘ Approved a $1,059 request by the Harrison Circuit Court for computer maintenance.
‘ Heard a request by Jennifer Best, director of the Gerdon Youth Center, for $150,000 for the center’s 2007 operating expenses.
‘ Heard requests totaling $2,863 to update computers in the Harrison County Assessor’s and Surveyor’s office to Windows XP.
‘ Heard a $4,600 request by Harrison County Maintenance Supervisor David Simon to pay for a replacement boiler for the Harrison County Justice Center.
‘ Heard a request by the Rev. Richard Goodwin for $10,000 for the Chaplain’s Association’s 2007 expenses.
‘ Heard a request by the Harrison County Commissioners for $50,000 for consulting services provided by Ice Miller LLP regarding a new Interstate 64 interchange proposed west of Corydon.