Kendalville City Council approves 2 abatements

March 8th, 2017

By Dennis Nartker | KPC News - The News Sun

The City Council Tuesday night approved resolutions granting tax abatements to LSC Communications, formerly Courier Kendallville, and Ashley Industrial Molding Inc. after both companies announced expansions of their Kendallville operations.

Equipment additions are expected to create a total of at least 27 new jobs at the manufacturing facilities.

Council members voted 3-1 to grant LSC Communications a full abatement over 10 years on approximately $9.2 million in new equipment for its digital printing operation at 3094 Lester Drive.

The addition of a third Hewlett-Packard high-speed, four-color digital printing press and upgrades to two existing HP high-speed, four-color digital printing presses will result in 25 new jobs and help retain 104 employees at the Lester Drive facility, according to tax abatement documents.

For tax purposes, the abatement was granted to Courier Kendallville, not LSC Communications. In February 2015, R.R. Donnelley & Sons acquired Courier Corp., including Courier’s Kendallville facilities. R.R. Donnelley & Sons then split into three independent companies, which included LSC Communications.

The company is in the process of rebranding all of its facilities, according to Eric Falter, plant manager for LSC Communications’ Kendallville operations.

LSC Communications also has a printing facility on Marion Drive that employs about 700 workers.

The company will realize a tax savings of about $907,000 over the term of the abatement.

The Kendallville digital operation prints and binds digitally produced hardcover and softcover books.

Council members Regan Ford, Steve Clouse and Frank Walkup voted to approve the abatement. Councilman Larry Davis was absent from the meeting. Councilman Jim Dazey voted against the 100 percent abatement.

Dazey said he wasn’t opposed to granting the tax abatement, but he expressed concern the council would be going against a resolution approved about seven years ago that required a minimum $10 million investment for a 100 percent abatement.

Ford stressed the millions of dollars the company has invested in the community already, adding LSC Communications is one of Kendallville’s biggest employers.

After Falter explained the company hopes to fill the 25 positions this year, Clouse pointed to the nearly $900,000 in salaries that will be added to the community.

Mayor Suzanne Handshoe said the previous resolution serves as a guide for abatements and includes not only investment but job creation. The state of Indiana makes no limitations for investment or job creation on abatements, she added.

Ashley Industrial Molding plans to install two new reaction injection-molding and metering units at its East Industrial Park manufacturing facility.

Council members voted to grant the company a five-year, sliding-scale abatement on approximately $312,000 in new equipment. The expansion is expected to create two new jobs while retaining 45 employees at the company’s manufacturing facility at 100 S. Progress Drive.

Ashley Industrial Molding would realize a tax savings of $11,321 by the end of the five-year abatement.

The Economic Development Advisory Committee reviewed both abatement requests and recommended the City Council approve them.

In other business, council members reviewed the city’s five-year tree management plan prepared by Davey Resource Group of Kent, Ohio, and presented by city Tree Commission Chairman Jim Nixon.

The total cost of the five-year tree removal, replacement and maintenance program for the city’s urban forest is approximately $342,000. This year is the first year of the five-year program, with an estimated cost of $87,590 that includes 45 Priority 1 and 2 removals, 84 Priority 1 and 2 prunings, 62 stump removals and about 100 tree plantings.

Using an inventory of city trees along public street rights of way taken in May 2012, the report indicates the city has 2,398 trees, 17 stumps and 1,678 planting sites. The tree population is rated “good.”

Davey Resource Group recommends planting at least 100 trees of a variety of species each year of the program, which extends through 2021.

Kendallville hires a contractor to remove dead and diseased trees and stumps identified by the Tree Commission, and city employees plant new trees. Indiana Michigan Power prunes trees near its power lines with city approval.