Edge Manufacturing’s abatement review receives Bluffton City Council’s approval

March 4th, 2019

By David R. Schultz for the Bluffton News-Banner | Indiana Economic Digest

Members of the Bluffton Common Council approved a statement of benefits for Edge Manufacturing Inc., 800 S. Dougherty St.

The abatements were originally granted last year on two pieces of manufacturing equipment — an inline thermoforming machine for high production plastic forming and a fiber laser for high efficiency steel cutting. The value of the machines was listed at $1,165,000.

Eric Gerber, the president and CEO of the company, said the new machines have been helpful.

“We’re pretty optimistic that we’ll be able to grow both of those lines significantly,” he said.

Council President Jim Phillabaum noted that the statement of benefits form showed 52 employees at the facility, up from the 40 that were estimated a year ago. Gerber said the company’s new layout at the Dougherty Street address has made for more efficiency. The company was down 10 employees a year ago but now it has only three or four vacancies to fill.

Diane Johnson, who works with companies on abatements on behalf of Wells County Economic Development, noted that Edge has another abatement out on new construction for office space, but that is not completed yet.

The five council members — Mike Morrissey, John Whicker, Carl Perry, Phillabaum, and Melanie Durr — all voted to approve the company’s statement of benefits.

The council also approved an ordinance Tuesday that earmarked $185,000 in the EDC Fund for Washington Park improvements. That same ordinance designated $2,250,000 of the city’s County Economic Development Income Tax funds for use on expansion of the city’s sanitary sewer system on the north side of the city.

The ordinance was approved 5-0 on the first reading. At Mayor Ted Ellis’s suggestion, the council members voted unanimously to suspend the rules and approve the ordinance on its second and final reading Tuesday.