Businesses seek tax breaks for expansion


GREENFIELD — Three business deals in the works could lead to up to 120 new jobs in Hancock County.

The Hancock Economic Development Council is pursuing agreements with three businesses that are looking to locate or expand in Hancock County. On Wednesday, city and county officials approved tax breaks for Indiana Automotive Fasteners, a company that makes car parts for a variety of vehicles including Toyota and FoamCraft, an Indianapolis-based foam manufacturer.

The county council also gave preliminary approval to tax deduction for County Materials Corp., which manufactures concrete and stone for landscape and construction projects.

Increase manufacturing

Indiana Automotive Fasteners, which has a nearly 1 million square-foot facility at 1300 Anderson Boulevard in Greenfield, plans to invest about $48 million in new manufacturing equipment by 2019 that will help create 75 new jobs, which will pay an average of $28,700, according to city records. The company already employs more than 600 people.Mark Vance, general manager of sales, purchasing and accounting, said the company recently completed an expansion project that added approximately 300,000 square feet to its footprint. Now, it’s preparing to purchase equipment that will allow the manufacturer to ramp up its production of automotive parts.Preliminary numbers show the tax break will save the company about $800,000 in personal property taxes during the next 10 years, when taxes will be phased in. The company will still pay about $540,000, which is a substantial investment, said Skip Kuker, executive director of HEDC.

City officials said they’re happy to see IAF expanding again and creating new jobs.

Mayor Chuck Fewell said the facility’s recent expansion is beautiful, and the city is proud to be home to an IAF facility.

“You’re a good corporate partner, and we’re happy to have you here,” he told company officials at a city council meeting Wednesday.

Rapid expansion

Now that a tax break has been approved for a foam manufacturer with five facilities around the state, company officials say the company is pursuing plans to build a 60,000-square-foot facility in the 7200 block of West County Road 200N.Earlier this week, county officials approved a 10-year tax break for the company should its plans to locate here come to fruition; preliminary numbers show the deal would spare the company about $364,000 over 10 years, while it would pay about $370,000 in taxes.

The company, whose materials are used in products such as bedding, packing and seating, currently leases a facility in Indianapolis. With the tax break, it’s planning to move that facility to Hancock County, said CEO Rob Elliott.

“This is our No. 1 choice,” Elliot said. “We’re excited about being part of the community.”

A new facility would bring 25 jobs with an average salary of $26,350 to Hancock County, though Elliot has not confirmed how many of the jobs would be filled by the company’s existing employees versus local job-seekers.

The company has expressed interest in future expansions, Kuker said, which is always welcome.

New facility

A $13 million project could create 10 to 20 new jobs paying an average of $18 per hour plus benefits in Maxwell.County Materials Corp. is eyeing Maxwell as a site to develop a new facility and has requested a break on its taxes from the county in support of the project.

The company purchased assets from Independent Concrete Pipe Co. in Indianapolis and Maxwell in 2014. Currently, the company operates mostly outdoors at 8 East Junction St. in Maxwell. Company leaders are looking to build an indoor facility at the Maxwell location and to move the Indianapolis facility there, making the town its Indiana headquarters.

“What we’ve envisioned is a pretty large facility,” said Steve Hoesing, vice president of operations. “Currently, we’ve got 65 to 70 employees in Maxwell, and we see that going to the mid 80s.”

The facility would create concrete pipe for storm and sanitary sewers, manholes and drainage structures.

This week, the Hancock County Council supported the project by preliminarily approving personal property and real estate tax breaks, which could save the company about $672,000 over 10 years.

The company would still pay about $550,000 in taxes, Kuker said.

A public hearing on the tax abatements is scheduled for Nov. 12, when officials are expected to give final approval to the tax breaks.

“We’re pretty excited about having this opportunity,” Kuker said.