2018-02-01 / Front Page

Township tax exemption relief to assist undisclosed businesses

By Paula K. Schmidt
810-452-2647 • pschmidt@mihomepaper.com

GRAND BLANC TWP. — In a move which aims to keep jobs and expand business in the township, Superintendent Dennis Liimatta, in conjunction with the Director of Assessing, requested the approval of the board of trustees for an adjustment of the guidelines for Tax Abatement Status.

Previously, the maximum time for real property tax abatement was for six years and was approved to increase to eight years to recognize companies choosing to build replacement facilities in the township.

Liimatta said he was working with a specific company which was interested in the Industrial Facilities Tax (IFT) exemption and they had been considering moving out of the county or township. He had signed a one-to-one non-disclosure agreement with the company and wouldn’t name them, which was legal according to attorney David Lattie as long as township interests aren't compromised.

“They're working with the State of Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Flint-Genesee Chamber (of Commerce),” Liimatta explained.

The IFT tax exemption can be claimed by business under various categories— either type of business, or amount of planned investment in real property or rehabilitation and expansion of same, or based on potential average increase in number of employees earning three times the national minimum wage rate or more.

He said this particular employer has 600 jobs and if they are able to keep them here, the company is willing to make a $24 million investment in a new facility but based on the previous rules, they can only offer the six-year tax abatement instead of up to possibly 12, which would better match the company’s needs.

“We could be much more competitive in that process if we changed to an eight-year abatement,” Liimatta said.

The goal is not an increase in jobs, but rather the retention of those 600 jobs. The approved change would not automatically allow the tax abatement for the intended business, but would be subject to the normal application and approval process over which the board has final authority.

Assessor Rebecca Salvati doesn't think this will happen by the next regularly scheduled board meeting and also added that there is more than one company who is interested in the exemption.

The tax abatement would mean the township would only collect 50 percent of what they might have but the consensus was it was worth the proposed investment and job retention if they are approved.

In other business the board approved a motion to approve an election worker pay rate of $10 for training related to participation in a mock election using the new election equipment. There has been no pay raise for election workers since 2009.

Although Clerk Cathy Lane also wanted to increase the election day rate from $175 to $200, that part of the recommendation was put on hold until more information could be perused. During board discussion it was revealed the previous clerk forwarded a non-approved raise equal to the $200 amount for the previous election in November 2016.

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