Anniston approves tax abatement for expanding business
by Patrick McCreless
pmccreless@annistonstar.com
Jan 14, 2014 | 3880 views |  0 comments | 79 79 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Anniston will temporarily reduce a local company's taxes to help it expand and possibly create jobs for 200 workers.

During its regular meeting Monday, the Anniston City Council approved a 10-year tax abatement for Agracel Inc., an Illinois-based industrial developer. Agracel owns a McClellan facility that houses International Automotive Components, which injects plastic into molds to create automotive parts. The abatement will help Agracel with a 127,000 square-foot expansion of the building for IAC.

Mayor Vaughn Stewart said the expansion could result in the creation of 200 jobs during the next two years. IAC employs about 270 workers.

"Eighty percent of any of the jobs in any city comes from existing industry," Stewart said. "So it behooves the city to help existing industries."

According to city documents, the $7.6 million expansion project is expected to be completed in November. The city estimates the 10-year ad valorem tax abatement for the company will total $240,520.

City Manager Brian Johnson noted that IAC will need to request tax abatements for its machinery at a later date when it starts its expansion efforts.

"This is a great partnership for the city," Stewart said.

Also during the meeting, the council agreed to apply for a $362,500 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to help pay for a study of the city drainage system. Johnson said the city will provide $262,000 in matching money plus a $100,000 grant it already received from the ARC to pay for the total $725,000 cost of the study.

"We're applying for a grant to help offset the cost," Stewart said. "It's time to get serious about our flooding and drainage issues."

Johnson said the city's drainage system is deteriorating rapidly.

"My hope is this study gets us the baseline we need ... to know what is the condition right now," Johnson said after the meeting. "Once we do that, then we'll know how much money we'll need to get things up to proper standards."

In other business the council:

-- Read an ordinance prohibiting the use of coolers for the sale of alcoholic beverages in businesses. The council will vote on the ordinance at its next meeting.

-- Approved a more than $9,000 expenditure to Whorton Engineering for a design fee for fire sprinkler modifications for the Anniston Botanical Gardens.

-- Heard Councilman David Reddick's opinion during the council comment period of the meeting that the mainly ceremonial position of vice mayor should be rotated among members each year. Councilman Seyram Selase is vice mayor.

-- Agreed to participate in the state sales tax holiday for severe weather preparedness items on Feb. 21.

-- Agreed to apply for a $411,000 grant from the Alabama Industrial Access Road and Bridge Corporation to assist in improvements of Pappy Dunn Boulevard and Eglin Avenue at McClellan.

-- Agreed to apply for a $200,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to conduct a community-wide assessment of brownfield properties — sites with actual or perceived presences of potential hazardous substances.

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.

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