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Auburn council passes MetalX abatement on first reading

June 25th, 2018

By Mark Murdock | KPC Media - The Star

The Auburn Common Council approved an ordinance granting a tax phase-in for MetalX LLC on first reading at Tuesday’s meeting.

The vote was 6-1, with Councilman Mike Walter opposed.

The abatement is for a total investment of $9.5 million, with $8 million for equipment and $1.5 million for real estate improvements at the company grounds at 1101 Oren Drive. Metal X said it will add 13 jobs, bringing its total workforce in Auburn to 60.

The abatement will be for six years on the real estate improvements and five years for the new equipment. One hundred percent of the value of both will be exempt from taxation in the first year.

The exemption drops to 80 percent of the value of the equipment in the second-year of the phase-in, and falls to 60, 40 and 20 percent in the next three years.

The value of the real estate improvements will have an exemption of 85 percent in the second year and 66 percent in the third. It will have exemptions of 50, 34 and 17 percent in the final three years of the abatement.

The company is increasing its aluminum processing at Auburn facility. The aluminum is melted and refined for use in automotive, construction and commercial industries, said Neal Rifkin, vice president of nonferrous operations.

The aluminum will travel along a conveyor system that starts outside and is funneled inward.

Improvements on the grounds will include a new road that will allow trucks to enter in one place and leave in another, rather than having to turn around.

President and CEO Danny Rifkin and vice president of accounting Ashley Thomas also represented MetalX at the meeting. Anton King, executive director of the DeKalb County Economic Development Partnership, was also present.

Walter moved to amend the ordinance with three provisions. The first would have require employees to be directly hired by the company and be full-time, working at least 1,750 hours each year excluding time off for authorized leave and vacations, and receiving health insurance, pension benefits and paid vacations.

Walter’s second proposal was a clawback provision requiring the company to reach at least 90 percent of the number of employees and wages promised, or be required to pay back the deficiencies proportionately. The third was a statement that the abatement constitutes a contract between the city and recipient.

The amendment was defeated 6-1, with Walter casting the lone vote in favor.