Tax break requests pass over disagreements on revenue

Tax abatements for two Edinburgh area companies were approved last night by the Bartholomew County Council but not without a debate over the type of tax breaks.

Drug Plastics Closures Inc. is planning a new facility on West County Road 800N. They sought a tax abatement on $15 million dollars in real property and $11 million in new equipment. Tsune America LLC on Presidential Way asked for tax break on $3 million in property and $1 million in equipment.

Both companies were approved for 10-year phase-ins of taxes on the real property and 5 year abatements on equipment.

But the proposals rankled some members of the County Council, because the developments are inside of the county’s tax increment financing district in the Edinburgh revitalization zone.

Council President Greg Duke particularly took issue with the proposals, because if the companies aren’t paying the new property taxes the tax revenue in the district will not increase. Which means there will be no option to pay for further improvements in the zone.

Councilman Mark Gorbett protested what he saw as hostility toward the companies which are planning to expand and to increase employment in the county. Duke also questioned how many of those employees would work and shop in Bartholomew County, as opposed to neighboring counties.

Jason Hester, head of the Greater Bartholomew County Economic Development Corp., stressed that the companies planned to increase the tax base, and would continue to pay the current property taxes, while the new amounts are slowly phased in. And that process is better than not improving the properties which would bring in no tax revenue.

Neither of the companies sought to use the Tax Increment Financing mechanism to pay for improvements in the area.

The Tsune request passed 3-2 with Duke and Councilman Bill Lentz voting against it and Councilwoman Evelyn Pence abstaining because she said she had not received the proposals ahead of the meeting. The Drug Plastic Closures request passed 6-1 with Lentz voting against it.