Warsaw City Council OKs several tax abatements

May 22nd, 2019

By David Slone | Times-Union

Abatements approved by the Warsaw Common Council Monday night included several that originally were granted by the county.

No representative from the city’s planning department could attend the meeting, but Mayor Joe Thallemer said he talked to City Planner Jeremy Skinner about the abatements.

“We do have – between Biomet, Alpha Manufacturing and Torrent Holdings – those are three that were county abatements, and when we annexed those this past year they became city abatements,” Thallemer said. He noted they were 10-year abatements, the same as the city offers.

First on the list were three abatements for Wildman Business Group LLC, including a 2014 10-year personal property abatement; a 2012 10-year real estate personal property abatement; and a 2016 10-year real estate real property abatement.

Thallemer said Wildman has increased its employment by 85 jobs, spent $1.8 million on personal property and “has done what they said they were going to do. They’ve done very well in regards to increasing their employment.”

Models Plus Inc.’s 2015 abatement was up next. It moved its operation to the city that year. Thallemer said Models Plus spent about $316,000 and “have not fulfilled the jobs they said they would” and the business also hasn’t spent all the money it said it would either.

“The only thing they’re receiving the abatement on is the amount they have spent, and not the original amount they requested,” Thallemer said.

He talked to Skinner about it and there’s still “plenty of time” (six years) for Models Plus to fulfill its obligations.

On the four total abatements for Zimmer and Biomet, Councilman Jack Wilhite abstained from commenting and voting because he is an employee of the company.

In 2015, Zimmer acquired Biomet.

Thallemer said the company has made great progress on what they said they were going to do in hiring new employees. “This particular abatement is a $13 million investment in the community. One hundred and seven jobs created,” Thallemer said.

The second abatement for Zimmer shows 402 additional new employees with just under $3 million in investment.

On the Biomet Inc. and Subsidiaries abatements, Thallemer reminded the council, “These originally were issued by the county. They’re 10-year abatements.”

The first was issued in 2014. Biomet promised 150 new employees but delivered on 442 new employees. It’s also invested $22.7 million in personal property.

The second also was personal property and was issued in 2010, and its new jobs were included in the 442 listed under the first abatement. The investment figure Biomet delivered on for the second abatement though is $18.9 million, according to Thallemer, and the company is expecting to invest $24 million so “there may be more to come.”

Torrent Holdings LLC has a Bell Drive address, which is in the area the city recently annexed. The abatement is for real property and approved by the county in 2015. Thallemer said Torrent has promised 12 jobs but only delivered two so far. It also promised $565,000 of investment, and delivered on $663,000. It’s only in the second year of its abatement.

Mark Meadows, a partner at Torrent Engineering & Equipment, said the company relocated from Milford to Warsaw in early 2017. It tripled its office and manufacturing space.

“When we moved down, we had nine jobs and we’re up to 12 now, so actually we added three,” Meadows said. “Our target is to double our sales and double our workforce, which would be the 12 jobs that were mentioned.”

Councilman Mike Klondaris asked what Torrent makes.

“We do large water-pumping systems, like big horse power, big pressure. Actually, our niche market is ski resorts, so we’ve been involved in the Winter Olympics in Canada, Russia and the last one was in Korea. So that’s kind of our niche,” Meadows said.

“It’s a big fabrication business, but we package water pumps and electrical controls. About half of our jobs are good-paying shop jobs, and the other half are in the office engineering and support,” he said.

The business started in 2001 in Milford.

Symmetry Medical had four tax abatements, including a 2005 real property, 10-year; 2015 personal property, 10-year; 2005 personal property, 10-year; and 2015 real property, 10-year. Thallemer said a total of 134 jobs have been added. Investments included $8 million, $4.1 million, $1.7 million and $6.5 million.

The last abatement was for Alpha Manufacturing & Design LLC and The Garden Spot LLC. The 10-year real property abatement was originally given by the county. It estimated adding 25 jobs and so far has added 11. It also estimated investment of $725,000 and so far has invested $648,000.

Klondaris asked again what the company made, and Thallemer said it manufactured orthopedic implants.

After all the abatements were approved, Thallemer added, “The abatements that were originally given by the county ... when the city annexed, the city gave a three-year abatement for them to come into the city. That was something that was done during the involuntary annexation process. It was allowed by the state. It was a way to try and incentivize everyone to come in.”