RICHMOND, Ind. — Two expanding Wayne County businesses plan to add 15 employees.
Those businesses, Taconic Biosciences and ITD Engineering, received unanimous Wayne County Council approval Wednesday for tax abatements. A tax abatement provides real estate or personal property tax relief on new investments through a 10-year period. The relief begins at 100% the first year and decreases by 10 percentage points each subsequent year.
Taconic, which designs and produces laboratory mice and rats at its Cambridge City facility, is constructing a new building and working on infrastructure and improvements to existing buildings, said Terry Receveur, a Taconic director of project management.
“We’ve had wonderful community support here in Wayne County,” said Receveur, whose company has been in Wayne County 17 years.
The Cambridge City facility serves as a hub for a weekly West Coast delivery route, Receveur said. The expansion results from development of a second West Coast route.
Council approved standard 10-year tax abatements for real estate and for personal property. The real estate abatement is on a $4,634,000 investment in the buildings, and the personal property abatement is for a $690,000 investment in equipment.
Taconic, which employs 52 people in Cambridge City, plans to add 11 jobs with a payroll of $450,000.
Council member Max Smith said Taconic has been an asset to the western part of Wayne County.
“I’m pleased to see you expand,” he said.
ITD Engineering is a manufacturing and machine shop on New Paris Pike in Richmond. It has expanded to 22 employees since 2005, and plans to add four more.
ITD’s personal property abatement is on an estimated $600,000 investment in new equipment that will result in four additional employees.
“We have had significant growth and have had a lot of support from the local community,” said Jeff Scherschel, ITD’s owner.
This is ITD’s third abatement in three years. A 2020 project resulted in a $271,939 investment, and last year’s project included a $1.2 million investment.
Council’s tax abatement committee recommended approval for the Taconic and ITD requests.
“It’s great to see so much economic activity in Wayne County this year,” said Valerie Shaffer, president of the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County, when she spoke to council following the abatement approvals.
Shaffer presented council the 2023 EDC budget of $746,795.41. That’s a $25,188, or 3.5%, increase over the 2022 budget. Shaffer said the majority of the increase is increased salaries and rising insurance costs.
Council asked Shaffer for an update on EDC activity. She’s hopeful for movement yet this year on the Element 13 project that has been delayed during COVID-19. Element 13, which is a startup aluminum billet manufacturer, planned a $28 million investment to build in the Midwest Industrial Park.
Shaffer also said the EDC has a signed letter of intent from a developer to construct 150 apartments at the former Elder-Beerman site in downtown Richmond. A state tax incentive is the final piece of financing, she said. The project has been allocated $2.9 million from the East Central Indiana Regional Partnership’s $15 million share of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative.
The EDC also is already marketing new land being acquired for the Midwest Industrial Park. The county and city of Richmond are each purchasing parcels that will add 326 acres in a third phase. Council unanimously voted to support transferring title of the 160 acres west of Round Barn Road the county will purchase to the city. Shaffer said that will make it easier for the EDC to eventually sell the land to businesses.
Commissioners during their afternoon meeting delayed taking action until they could consult with the county attorney.
During its finance committee meeting, council appropriated $50,000 for Johns Manville and $100,000 for the Make My Move campaign at Shaffer’s request. The EDC board and Wayne County’s commissioners previously supported the expenditures from the Economic Development Income Tax fund.
Johns Manville has been approved for a $50,000 EDIT grant to offset training costs for employees after a $28.5 million investment in new equipment necessary for blowing wool insulation. The investment retained 107 jobs, and Johns Manville is adding two new full-time apprenticeship positions.
The Make My Move funding would cover $5,000 enticements for 20 remote workers to relocate to Wayne County. The EDC, county and city of Richmond are partnering in the Make My Move program.
During the commissioners’ Wednesday afternoon meeting, Commissioner Mary Anne Butters expressed optimism about the program.
“Make My Move is underway and very exciting,” she said. “I think we will be successful in meeting the goal of 20 candidates.”
Another business, Comfort Suites, is expected to open this fall, according to Mary Walker, executive director of the Wayne County Convention and Tourism Bureau. She said that Comfort Suites and the already-opened Home2 Suites fill segment in the county’s lodging options that had been missing.
Walker also presented council the tourism bureau’s 2023 budget of $925,000. That includes an operating budget of $883,588 and debt service of $41,412.
The budget, which is solely funded by the innkeeper’s tax, is a 21% increase over 2022. Tourism bureau funds were diminished because the COVID-19 pandemic struck the hospitality industry particularly hard.
Council also authorized $125,500 at Commissioner Ken Paust’s request for the renovation of the council and commissioners chambers in the Wayne County Administration Building. Commissioners had previously voted 2-1 to award Thor Construction the bid.
During their afternoon meeting, commissioners unanimously voted to allow in the courthouse a kiosk that provides legal information about housing issues. The kiosk, which is provided by the state, would be located outside the small claims office on the courthouse’s second floor.
Commissioners and council also adjusted their Aug. 17 meeting schedules. Commissioners set a 2 pm executive session to discuss security measures in the annex building, and council set its workshop starting time an hour early at 5 pm to accommodate discussions about the 2023 budget.