Request for tax phase-in advanced

June 8th, 2018

By Mark Murdock | KPC Media - The Star

The Auburn Common Council’s abatement committee unanimously approved a tax abatement request Tuesday.

MetalX LLC is seeking a tax phase-in on $8 million in personal property and $1.5 million in real property improvements at its scrap metal recycling facility at 1101 Oren Drive in southwest Auburn. The abatement would be for six years on the site improvements and five years for new equipment.

The company plans to move most of its aluminum-shredding activities from its facility in Kendallville to Auburn. New equipment is expected to help the facility shred about 75 million pounds of aluminum in its first year. The operation converts scrap aluminum to a raw state ready to be melted.

“With the way the economy’s going, more and more aluminum is being used in appliances, automotive, many different things,” said Neal Rifkin, vice president of nonferrous operations. “We see a future in being able to process aluminum.”

Part of the new investment is for X-ray equipment that helps to better separate the aluminum from other metals and materials.

Improvements to the grounds will include an expanded drive and parking area. The drive will allow trucks separate entrance and exit points rather than having to turn around to leave.

The changes are expected to add 13 jobs, which will bring the total workforce at the facility to 60. Of the added jobs, 10-11 will be employees transferring from the Kendallville facility and two or three new workers will be added.

MetalX President and CEO Danny Rifkin and Vice President of Accounting Ashley Thomas also attended the meeting. Anton King, executive director of the DeKalb County Economic Development Partnership, was present.

A resolution to grant the abatement will be considered by the full council at its next meeting June 19.

MetalX also received an abatement from the city on more than $7 million in manufacturing equipment in 2014. The company was one of several to be found in substantial compliance later Monday in the regular council meeting. Others were C&A Tool, Cooper Standard, Hope’s Landing, Metal Technologies, Rieke Corp., SCP Limited, Shiloh Diecast, Tempus Technologies and Auburn Gear.

Hope’s Landing and Tempus Technologies were found to be in substantial compliance by a unanimous vote. The vote was 6-0 for the other companies, with Councilman Mike Walter abstaining.

“My objection is that they say they certify the numbers” for equipment being installed and number of employees, Walter said. “I have no reason to think they’re lying. On the other hand, when we file our tax returns, we sign those under penalty of perjury.

“Without a signature under penalty of perjury, I don’t see how we collectively can say they’re in compliance.”