Trustees schedule public hearing for potential tax abatement

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

BENTON TOWNSHIP — A Benton Township food processing company is looking to renovate its building and has asked the board of trustees for help.

During Tuesday’s meeting, trustees voted to schedule a public hearing to allow township residents and board members to listen in on what Great Lakes Farmers Distribution Center LLC plans to do if awarded a industrial tax abatement.

Located at 2130 Yore Ave., the company plans to renovate its building to include a fresh cut vegetables processing addition.

Township Clerk Carolyn Phillips said the company would retain its 50 employees and create about 74 jobs over the next three years as a result of the renovation. The tax abatement would last for 12 years.

The project’s total cost is an estimated $3.5 million – accounting for $850,000 for the building renovations and $2.7 million for machinery and equipment purchases. The tax abatement would give the company a 50 percent tax break with the township during the suggested period.

Treasurer Debbie Boothby said township officials were contacted by Cornerstone Alliance, which was first approached by Great Lakes Farmers Distribution.

“They worked with our assessor because there are so many rules regarding the personal property tax and how it’s not part of the formula any more,” Boothby said. “What’s really attractive is new jobs. Job creation is something we try to focus on.”

The public hearing will provide a platform to decide two items with the company: Whether to turn its nearly 20-acre parcel into an industrial development district and if the business should be awarded the tax abatement for 12 years.

“We’ll adjourn the regular meeting and go into the public hearing,” Boothby said. “That’s when we ask for comments. Cornerstone will be here and the owners of the company will be here to answer questions anyone might have.”

The last time the township received a tax abatement request was in 2013, Boothby said.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Sept. 2, 2015)

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