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Council ponders one abatement

By DARRELL SMITH - dsmith@newsexaminer.com

The city is trying to figure out whether to renew a tax abatement for a company that might not have met its employment target. City Council approved six other abatements Monday.

An abatement allows a company to phase in property taxes on new investments over a period of years, based on the company’s promise of employment levels and the level of investment.

One local company. Connersville Commons, which leases space to retail stores south of Walmart, is not in compliance with its projections for workforce but has met all expectations for investment.

Grant administrator Diana Wright told the Connersville City Council Monday the annual reports have been received from seven companies with abatements. “I recommend approving all of them at this time. We have one that we need to have some conversations with,” she said. “They have increased their employment and salaries from last year to this year.”

Wright said the estimates for the proposed salaries and employment numbers on the original application did not seem feasible. The company should have received the abatement initially but they just set their goals really high instead of being more realistic.

Getting an abatement is more investment in the property -- and the company has done that -- but it has not been able to fill the facility, Wright said.

“One of the requests we have made of them is that they try not to go out and head hunt other companies that are already existing in the community,” she said. “We asked them to bring new people in rather than stealing them from another location.”

Council member David Nutty said that he has seen them being diligent in trying to gain more employment but it is just difficult to dictate how many employees they will have. The original number was hopeful, they just did not make it.

The council approved six abatements from companies that met their goals. The tax abatement committee – Mayor Harold Gordon, Council President Gabe Nobbe, Clerk-Treasurer Rosemary Brown and Wright – will meet and report to the council about Connersville Commons.