By RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY
PDT Staff Writer
NEW BOSTON — During its regular meeting on Tuesday evening, New Boston Village Council received a letter from Infra-Metals asking the village to approve a 75 percent property tax abatement as an incentive to build in New Boston.
“As many of you know, Infra-Metals Co. (is) in the final phase of its preparation to begin construction of its distribution center located in the Village of New Boston. We are very excited about this opportunity and have met and worked with many great people along the way,” wrote Infra-Metals President Mark Haight and Regional Vice President Michael Dean, in their letter to village council.
“During the course of our original due diligence, the Village offered us a property tax abatement to assist us in our commitment to making both the fixed asset and other real property investments necessary to ensure the facility’s success and support the new job creation an Infra-Metals processing and distribution facility brings with it. This offer was one of the main reasons we decided to locate in New Boston.”
The company is asking the village to honor a previous commitment to approve a 75 percent tax abatement on real property and land for a period of 10 years. That would mean for the next 10 years, the company would only pay 25 percent of its property tax valuation.
Village Councilman Junior Williams said he does remember discussing the issue of an abatement with Infra-Metals in the past, but he does not remember agreeing to any specific amount. He said he could review the recorded minutes of those meetings to see what number, if any, was ever discussed.
In closing of their letter to council, Haight and Dean write, “We realize that this request is coming at the 11th hour of our planning. Your expedited consideration of our request is both needed and greatly appreciated.”
Village Council took no immediate action on Infra-Metal’s request Tuesday, but rather asked Village Solicitor Walter Lytten to review the law regarding abatements before they vote.
“We’re investigating this right now, and I’m reading up on some of this to see if the law has changed. So I’m not for sure what that percentage would be,” said New Boston Mayor James Warren. “We’re just checking out to see what we have to do, and what we have to offer the school.”
Because an abatement would reduce the amount of tax revenue available to the local school district, the village would also have to share with the school 50 percent of all income tax locally generated by the company. Warren said it wasn’t really a loss to the village, because the land as it is now is not generating any taxes, and some would be better than none at all.
New Boston School Superintendent Mike Staggs could not be reached for comment.
A subsidiary of the publicly-traded Reliance-Infra-Metals (NYSE: RS) of Wallingford, Conn., the company has been involved with negotiations for at least four years, and signed a development contract with the Southern Ohio Port Authority in March 2011 to build a $13 million steel plant at the Bob Walton Industrial Park in New Boston.
Ground was finally broken in October 2011, but the general contract has not yet been awarded.
If the plant is built in New Boston, it will be the company’s seventh plant — with operations also in Florida, Virgina, Maryland, Connecticut and Illinois. The company plans to begin its New Boston plant with 66 employees and hopes to employ about 100 workers at full production. New employees will be trained at other Infra-Metals facilities to be ready when the New Boston plant is expected to open during the fourth quarter of 2012.
New Boston Village Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of every month, at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Meeting Room of the New Boston Community Center on Rhodes Avenue. The next regular scheduled meeting is April 3.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 235, or email@example.com.