Athens Mold and Machine would receive a 60 percent, 10-year real estate tax abatement on improvements it plans to make at its Mill Street facility, according to a draft enterprise zone application.

It was announced last month that the company will be re-opening its Athens tire mold plant and creating 60 jobs over the next three years. The tax abatement would be part of a financial assistance package for the project that includes a $400,000 grant from JobsOhio for facility and office renovations and a $50,000 grant from the Southern Ohio Agriculture and Community Development Fund for equipment upgrades.

The application was discussed briefly Tuesday by the Athens County Commissioners, who authorized Commission President Lenny Eliason to continue negotiations with the company and to ask whether the company would consider compensating Athens City School District for getting a lesser increase in tax revenue because of the abatement. Commissioner Charlie Adkins asked that the company be approached about the matter.

The 60 percent abatement would only be on taxes on improvements made to the property, so the school district would not lose any of the tax revenue it is currently getting.

“The schools would still get 40 percent (on the improvements),” Eliason noted.

At this point, officials don’t have an estimate of the annual dollar amount of taxes that would be abated.

Sara Marrs-Maxfield said that approval of the application by the Ohio Development Services Agency would authorize the county commissioners to enter into an enterprise zone agreement with the company that would spell out abatement guidelines in more detail. It would include a clawback provision that would allow the commissioners to seek repayment of abated taxes if project goals are not met.

According to the draft application, the project would create 60 full-time jobs and an annual payroll of more than $2.12 million by its third year. The draft also includes a proposed schedule for creating those jobs — 20 by June 2017, 40 by June 2018 and 60 by June 2019.

The draft also estimates that the company will invest up to $3.02 million in building improvements, machinery and equipment, furniture and fixtures, and inventory. However, Marrs-Maxfield said those numbers could change as the company gathers more information on what needs to be done to the facility.

As part of the overall project, JobsOhio and the Appalachian Regional Commission have committed a total of $800,000, with the city contributing $250,000, for an extension of McKinley Avenue and construction of a roundabout on Stimson Avenue. The project is intended to improve access for Athens Mold and Machine, but also for Jackie O’s brewery and Stirling Technologies.

The draft enterprise zone application states that the reopening of Athens Mold and Machine “is a catalyst for a roadwork improvement project that will benefit all tenants in the city’s only manufacturing project.”

srobb@athensmessenger.com; Twitter @SteveRmessenger

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