County Extends Tax Incentives To Underperforming Companies

MARYSVILLE –After a comprehensive presentation by Economic Director Eric Phillips to the Union County Board of Commissioners this morning, the Commission voted to extend Enterprise Zone Tax Incentive agreements for several companies in Union County, to include Richwood Bank, Sumitomo Electric Wiring Systems, Heritage Cooperative, MIXT Solutions, KTH Parts and AutoTool. The passage of the resolution was recommended by the Economic Development office, in cooperation with the Tax Incentive Review Council (TIRC), despite several of the companies which receive the incentives not meeting the standards that were set in the initial agreement.

While in the end the vote was 3-0 to approve all of the ongoing agreements as presented by Mr. Phillips, Commissioner Dave Burke expressed his displeasure for the performances of some of the companies that receive the incentives –  AutoTool in particular – for not having lived up to their end of the deal by providing the jobs and new payroll that it promised as part of the contract, while Richwood Bank and Sumitomo have done so in full, and better.

Mr. Phillips noted that AutoTool was both hit hard by the pandemic and the very stiff completion for the well-paying jobs that are offered there. Applicants who were accepted for hire, Mr. Phillips told the Commission, have quite often skipped out when a better offer was made elsewhere, leaving AutoTool holding the stick with a number of open positions.

Commissioner Dave Burke found it odious that the county should continue offer tax abatements to companies that fail to hold up their end of the bargain, noting that Jerome Township recently withdrew its abatement for AutoTool for this very reason, but he nevertheless acquiesced and accepted the Economic Development’s recommendation for continuing with the agreements, on the understanding that all underperforming companies – such as AutoTool – start to be closely monitored and reports on the progress of these entities, at the suggestion of Commissioner Steve Robinson, will be submitted to the Commission on a more regular basis. As it stands now, the law requires that updates to the Commission on these matters are to be given at least once per year, which is usually done, as today, at a December meeting, but the Union County Commission made it clear that it will be asking for more frequent updates in the future. The resolution passed by a 3-0 vote.

(Enterprise Zones? TIRCs? What exactly are these things and how do they affect the regular Joe and/or Jane? Check back with the Union County Daily Digital this week for an outline on these incentives and how they work.)

In his report to the Commission, Sheriff Jamie Patton said that his office was now down to eight deputies and two dispatchers and that his department continues to aggressively recruit new hires to fill the open positions. Following his report, Sheriff Patton asked for an executive session with the Commission to discuss the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the FOP, which was granted. Prior to breaking into executive session, Sheriff Patton personally issued invitations to each of the Commissioners to attend the UCSO’s annual banquet January 12, 2023.

In other action, the Commission reappointed Anthony Will, Holly Zweizig and Thomas Baldwin to the Union County Public Defender Commission without a dissenting vote.

The Union County Commission is scheduled to meet again Wednesday, December 28 at 8:30 a.m. in Commission Chambers, 233 W. 6th St.

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