After a solid month of discussions, Madison County commissioners signed off on the tax abatement deal with Jefferson Industries Corporation on Monday.
The agreement will give JIC a 100 percent abatement on its property taxes for 15 years on the 61,000-square-foot addition, an investment valued at $7.5 million.
The company plans to install equipment and machinery, estimated to cost between $11 million and $15 million.
The addition is set to bring 20 full-time permanent jobs to the auto-parts manufacturing plant over the course of three years, a payroll valued at $680,000. As part of the deal, the company must also retain its existing 512 full-time positions, maintaining the current payroll of about $28.8 million.
Commissioners, county prosecutor Steve Pronai, CIC director David Kell, Jefferson Township Trustee Jeff Pfeil and JIC Vice President Hassan Saadat discussed the deal in executive session for about 10 minutes.
The commissioners exited the executive session and unanimously signed off on the deal.
Commissioner Mark Forrest noted the company has met with school, township and county leaders, and that there have been some “side discussions, as well.”
“We thank JIC for working with everybody and being a leader in the community,” he said.
Commissioner David Dhume praised the company for developing the local economy.
“JIC’s been here for 29 years. They provide great jobs for individuals for wherever they live in whatever county they live in,” said Dhume. “Hopefully they would live in Madison County but we know that necessarily isn’t the case. It’s a great company and we want to do anything in our power to help out as growth in the county is beneficial for everyone.”
In December, JIC lobbied local government for the abatement, saying they would expand a factory in Georgia instead if a competitive deal wasn’t reached.
The Jefferson Local School District Board of Education approved the abatement in December, with the condition that JIC cuts the district a one-time check for $200,000. Should a second addition be added, a second check will be given to the district for $150,000.
However, word quickly got to the county commissioners who at the time seemed to disagree with the move.
Former commissioner Paul Gross, whose term expired earlier this month, said he felt the move by JIC to expand in Georgia instead was a bluff and that a 100 percent abatement was too much.
Forrest told The Press that, in his opinion, the commissioners were more in favor of a 75 percent abatement rather than a 100 percent, citing increased demand on fire and emergency services.
In early January, the deal was taken off the table and reworked as a Community Reinvestment Area, or CRA, which wouldn’t require the commissioners’ approval. Discussions resumed and it was then reverted to an Enterprise Zone agreement, bringing commissioners back into the fold.
West Jefferson Village Council approved the abatement last week unanimously.
Columbus 2020, an economic development group, is expected to send out a press release about the project. Kell said it would be published Jan. 31.
The project’s first phase is expected to be completed by December 2018. If JIC elects to proceed with a second phase, that construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2018 and be completed two years later.
Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617 or on Twitter @MSFKwiat.
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