GREENFIELD — Roughly 360 acres on Greenfield’s far west side could become part of city limits under an annexation proposal presented by Covance.
The Greenfield City Council will hear a presentation Wednesday on a plan that would bring the drug development company’s campus into corporate boundaries.
It’s one of the largest annexations the city has seen in years, Greenfield Utility Director Mike Fruth said. If approved, the move would mean more revenue for the city’s utilities and additional funds through property taxes.
“It’s something that’s kind of been discussed off and on for decades,” Fruth said, adding that the annexation is voluntary, meaning Covance officials are in agreement with the plan.
Part of Covance’s 460-acre campus is already in city limits. Roughly 100 acres along Main
Street is in the city, including the iconic Spanish-style buildings that are part of the original campus of Eli Lilly and Co.’s Greenfield Laboratories. Over the years, Lilly expanded to the south Fruth said, into unincorporated areas of the county.
Covance, which bought the site from Lilly five years ago, already has city water but treats its own sewage and wastewater. Fruth said the company wants to hook on to the city’s sanitary sewer system. Since the city doesn’t have any sewer customers outside city limits, Greenfield officials encouraged the company to become a part of the city.
The proposal calls for Covance to foot the entire cost of construction of sewer lines to the property; the price of that has not yet been determined.
Covance will also pay the city $96,000 as a one-time connection fee. The monthly stormwater fee for the company to the city will be $450.
Covance spokesman Ronald Maturo said the company wants to use the city’s sewers so it can focus more on drug development and nutritional analysis and less on infrastructure.
“The city sewer system has the capacity to handle the site’s output, allowing our waste streams to be handled by experts,” Maturo said in a statement.
The company may also hook on to the city’s electric system; Fruth said that is still under negotiation.
Covance will also be paying additional property taxes if it becomes a part of the city, but the proposal calls for the taxes to be phased in over a 10-year period. Fruth said with current property tax rates and property values, the company would be paying the city roughly $160,000 in annual taxes. But because of the investment the company is making in the project, the city will waive property taxes entirely for the first year. The second year, the city will charge 50 percent of the property taxes. Taxes will be phased in over time so by year 10, all of the property taxes will be collected, according to the abatement plan.
The city council will hear about the proposal for the first time Wednesday and might take action at a future meeting. The plan will also be considered by the Greenfield Board of Works next month.
Covance has headquarters in Princeton, New Jersey, and has 12,500 employees in more than 60 countries, according to an email from the company. The Greenfield campus employs roughly 700 people.