published Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

Marion County OKs tax breaks for Lodge growth

by Ryan Harris
Cast iron skillets fill a pallet at Lodge Manufacturing in South Pittsburg, Tenn.
Cast iron skillets fill a pallet at Lodge Manufacturing in South Pittsburg, Tenn.
Photo by Angela Lewis.
  • photo
    Kimball City Attorney and Marion County Attorney Billy Gouger
    Photo by Ryan Lewis

JASPER, Tenn. — Marion County will aid the expansion of one of its biggest industries by exempting the property taxes on new equipment being installed at Lodge Manufacturing Co.

The Marion County Commission voted unanimously this week to abate personal property taxes on the multimillion-dollar expansion of the Lodge production plant in South Pittsburg, which began this week.

Lodge plans to replace its melt center, add a new sand system and buy another molding machine this year. The additions should add more than 20 jobs at the 220-employee plant.

County Mayor John Graham said the 10-year tax abatement will be only for new equipment and does not apply to any new structures. Graham estimated about half of the new investment will go toward new equipment.

Commissioner Tommy Thompson said the county commission supports such tax breaks because they bring so many positives to the community.

"We've done this kind of thing for just almost every industry we've got in the county," he said. "It's used as incentive to expand and hire people. That's what we need -- jobs for local folks who will spend their money at home."

County Attorney Billy Gouger said the resolution the county commissioners approved Monday delegates the authority to negotiate the details of the tax abatement plan to the county's industrial development board.

"It does apply to personal property equipment only," he said. "It will not affect any current revenues the county is receiving from Lodge. This will only be on future revenues with respect to this equipment."

Lodge plans to buy the equipment for the expansion over the next five years, officials said, and the terms for the tax breaks will be staggered as the company buys and installs each piece of equipment.

"The 10 years will start from the time each piece of equipment or machinery is put into service," Gouger said. "It could technically go out to 2027 if they install any new equipment in 2017."

Once the last 10-year term has expired, the new equipment will revert to full taxation by the county.

"It's not a prorated system," Gouger said. "It will be an abatement for 10 years, and then full taxes after that."

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