published Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Marion County board backs tax breaks for company's expansion

  • photo
    Kimball City Attorney and Marion County Attorney Billy Gouger
    Photo by Ryan Lewis

JASPER, Tenn. — Tennessee Galvanizing Inc. plans soon to begin a $2.25 million expansion here that officials said should add 65 jobs over the next three years.

The Marion County Commission approved a 10-year tax abatement program to encourage construction of a new centrifuge plant at the Jasper facility. Last week, the board voted unanimously to provide property tax breaks to the company over the next 10 years.

In August, the Jasper Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously to "follow suit" with city tax breaks for the expansion if county commissioners approved a plan.

County Attorney Billy Gouger said the expansion will "open up a whole new market" for the manufacturer.

Through a tax abatement program, the county gives up a portion of its property tax revenues from the expansion as an incentive to the company, he said. The 10-year agreement will reduce what the company otherwise would pay the county by $36,999 and reduce what would otherwise be charged by the city by $28,924 on the new equipment, Gouger said.

"It will not affect the property taxes the county is currently receiving from Tennessee Galvanizing," Gouger said. "It will only be on the new building and equipment."

Officials said Tennessee Galvanizing did not make a formal request for the tax breaks, but at a recent meeting with officials from the company, county, and state, a tax abatement program was discussed as an incentive.

Recently, city administrators in Birmingham, Ala., offered to construct the needed building at no cost to Tennessee Galvanizing if the company was willing to relocate, officials said.

County Mayor John Graham said the expansion could result in a huge win for the county.

"They are pretty confident that there will be some companies that will come here and locate in our county to be close to [this new galvanizing] process," he said. "This is a real opportunity for us to gain some more industry and more jobs."

Commissioner Tommy Thompson, who made the motion to offer the tax abatement to the company, said the company is not really forfeiting anything.

"This is one of the few things that we offer to new industry coming in," he said. "To me, we're not getting that revenue [from Tennessee Galvanizing] right now, but down the road we're going to get some revenue. We're not actually giving away anything that I can see."

Everything involving the tax abatement will be subject to approval by the county's Industrial Development Board, Gouger said.

Tennessee Galvanizing is ready to hire maintenance and management workers now so they can be trained, officials said, and the expansion should only take about three months.

"It kind of always bothered me that we offered this to new businesses coming [into the county], but we have seldom ever offered it to somebody that's already here," Commission Chairman Les Price said. "I think this is a good thing."

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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