Three companies are expanding in Wabash

February 15th, 2012

News Coverage:

Council OKs three abatements

Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 4:00 am | Updated: 4:46 pm, Tue Feb 14, 2012.

By Joseph Slacian,

The Wabash City Council on Monday approved 10-year tax abatements for three separate projects planned within the city. The projects represent a total investment of $9.1 million and will create 13 new jobs.

Two of the projects - Ag Resolutions LLC and Indiana American Water Co. - will be located in the new Wabash Business Complex, while the third is at Harvey Industries, 3837 W. Mill Street Extended.

"This is a real property tax abatement," Bill Konyha, President and CEO of the Economic Development Group of Wabash County, told the council of the Ag Resolutionsrequest. "The estimated cost for the structure is $2.5 million, but it will probably cost a little more than that."

The company will keep the 10 jobs it now has, and will create two more jobs at the new site, expected to add an additional $100,000 to the company's payroll of $688,504, according to paperwork filed with the city.

"Ag Resolutions Inc. and Advanced Ag, which is the operating company, are amongst our target industries which related to agriculture, research and distribution," Konyha said.

Once the abatement expires, the company is expected to pay more than $62,000 annually in property taxes.

The company is building a 3,360-square-foot office building and a 75,000-square-foot warehouse at the complex.

Meanwhile, Indiana American Water will build a water tower at the business complex, located northeast of Ind. 13 and U.S. 24. In addition, it will install five or six fire hydrants and approximately 2,000 feet of ductile iron pipe at the site.

The $3.5 million investment "is a very big deal for the city," Konyha told the council, noting the investment will increase water capacity, water pressure and more on the north side of the city, not just in the business park.

"By virtue of the fact that they are making this investment, the city doesn't have to," he said. "So it's saving the city $3.5 million. They city may not have put in a water tower, but it would have had to route a waterline which would have cost the same or maybe a little more."

The project won't create jobs for Indiana American Water, but it will help provide additional jobs in the future when businesses locate at the complex, he added.

Once the abatement expires, the company will pay more than $84,000 in property taxes.

Council member Joan Haag asked if the additional fire hyrdrants would be enough for the location.

"Everything that we do, and everything that will be done, will be reviewed by our engineering firm," Operations Superintendent Brandon France said. "It's usually 800 to a 1,000 feet; everyone 1,000 feet there will be a hydrant installed. There will be a hyrdrant at the end of the tank site as well, so there will be an additional hydrant there.

"Most fire departments will have a 1,000-foot line. We typically put in 800 to 1,000 feet, that's standard across Indiana."

Konyha also noted that if additional hydrants are needed, they will be placed at the site. In addition, dry hydrants will likely be placed at retention ponds at the site so if the ponds are full and water is needed, it could be pumped from the ponds.

Council member Bonnie Corn asked if water rate increases could be expected because of the project.

"I can honestly say that we are going through a big business transformation right now," France said. "One of the key things we have really learned about water is that it is a precious research. We keep asking for rate increases, but we're saturated. We're there. You're getting water out of the tap.

"What we're doing ... is that we're looking at our costs of doing business, and we're cutting our costs, so we don't have to keep coming in every other year and asking for rate increases. We're trying to be a lean machine. We're trying to cut and control our expenses so we don't have these increases of 30 to 40 to 50 to sometime 60 percent."

The Harvey Industries project allows the company to add new equipment for a new auto mold line it will be producing. The equipment will cost $3,114,917 and is expected to add 11 new jobs at the facility with an additional payroll of about $389,000, Konyha said.

Once the abatement ends, the company will pay more than $27,000 in taxes on the new equipment.

All three abatements were unanimously approved.

Kim Pinkerton, Wabash County Chamber of Commerce chair, praised the council for its action.

"I really appreciate the council's unanimous support of three strong businesses that are already located here," she said. "It's good for retention and future growth."