by Kelly Hawes
Logansport City Council members informally agreed Monday to grant delayed approval to $1.5 million in tax abatement for Myers Spring.
Jeremy Ashcraft, chairman of the council’s planning and economic development committee, opened the discussion by acknowledging that the matter likely should have come before the council months earlier.
“I’m not sure what happened,” he said. “I know we talked about it, but I guess we never actually took action.”
Officials indicated part of the problem might have been a transition in leadership at the Logansport-Cass County Economic Development Foundation.
Connie Neininger, LEDF’s new president, noted that the application had been dated in March. She indicated that the council could waive a requirement that the application be acted upon in advance of the purchase.
Todd Miller, the company’s president and chief executive officer, took partial blame for the oversight.
“I should have been keeping track of it,” he said. “Honestly, I thought it had already been approved.”
Neininger said LEDF supported the abatement.
“I think that they have shown that they want to be part of this community and provide jobs here,” she said.
The application called for the equipment to be installed during the final six months of this year and for the company to add three jobs or about $100,000 in payroll.
Miller said the equipment was already up and running and that the boost in employment had exceeded projections.
“We’re up 40 percent from our previous record for November,” he said. “Business is really booming.”
Much of the new work, Miller said, has been coming in the agriculture sector, mostly from John Deere.
“We’re doing well because our customers are doing well,” he said.
Miller said the company’s automotive work was also increasing.
“Honda has been fantastic,” he said. “It takes a long time to earn their trust, but when you do, they’re a very good customer. They keep business coming your way.”
The five council members at Monday’s meeting seemed unanimous in their support for the application. All seemed pleased by Miller’s upbeat report.
“That’s what we want to see, is growth,” said councilman Joe Buck.
Miller said the company took pride in its conservative business approach.
“We’ve never had a layoff since 1946,” he said. “We’re real careful about hiring, but we’re hiring now.”
The proposal before council calls for a 5-year abatement on an investment of $1.5 million. The abatement would save the company nearly $44,000 in personal property taxes, much of it in the first two years.
As part of the application, the company agrees that it will not seek abatement for any year in which its payroll falls below $1.06 million, or 80 percent of its current level. At the time of the application, the company’s payroll stood at just under $1.33 million.
Kelly Hawes is managing editor of the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5155 or firstname.lastname@example.org.