Tax breaks for some significant industrial and commercial investments in Terre Haute are making their way through the approval process. The procedure requires two votes by the City Council, the mayor’s signature and action by the city’s Board of Public Works and Safety.

The public works board signed off Tuesday on property tax abatements totaling $4.4 million on $48 million in investments that businesses say will create or retain 158 jobs with annual payrolls totaling $8.2 million. Salaries would range from $42,567 to $75,000.

Tax abatements do not totally forgive property taxes. They provide that taxes be phased in during a period of up to 10 years. Generally, they result in businesses paying about half the total amount they would otherwise have paid on real property and about one-third on personal property, such as equipment.

By far the largest of three projects with pending abatements is a $39 million investment by GATX Corp. for expansion of its rail car maintenance facility at 4400 Maple Ave.

The nearly 120-year-old company that has been in Terre Haute since 1973 says it will create 55 jobs with an annual payroll totaling $2.3 million and retain 23 positions paying a total of $1 million per year. Its tax abatements would amount to $3.9 million over 10 years out of a total estimated tax liability of $7.4 million.

The investment will make the facility the company’s first major service center in the Midwest, enabling it to handle all aspects of rail car maintenance, said Jeff Young, vice president and chief tax officer.

New jobs at GATX will be primarily welders, Young said.

“We’ll be working with the schools in the area to help facilitate some of the … training,” he said.

Board President Jon Stinson said, “Adding 55 more jobs to our area as well as helping to build up the craft labor in our town is a big plus.”

Ivy Tech Community College and local trade unions can help train workers to fill the new positions, Stinson added.

Tri-Aerospace plans a nearly $8 million investment in new equipment it says would result in 22 new jobs paying a collective $1 million per year while preserving 38 jobs with total annual payroll of $1.7 million. The company projects its 10-year personal property tax abatement would total $378,000 out of a total of $692,000 that would otherwise be paid.

Priser Properties plans a $900,000 investment in a new 13,000-square-foot office and warehouse building in the 1000 block of Wabash Avenue to serve Lee Equipment Co.. an 82-year-old school equipment, furniture and design company currently based at 27 S. 12th St.

The project, on the site of the former downtown Arby’s location, will create two new jobs with combined salaries of $100,000 and retain an estimated 28 jobs with total annual payroll of $2.1 million. An additional 34 union carpenters, 18 full-time and 14 part-time, work for the company on projects throughout Indiana, said Lou Britton, Priser’s attorney.

Tax abatements for the eight-year period being requested would amount to just over $90,000 of a total projected amount of $216,000.

The City Council has granted preliminary approval for the tax abatements. Confirmation votes are scheduled for the council’s meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in the City Hall Courtroom.

 

Dave Taylor can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dave.taylor@tribstar.com. Follow him on Twitter @TribStarDave.

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