County council approves tax abatement requests


The Jackson County Council approved $9.5 million in tax abatements, including one that could create 30 jobs, for three local companies during a meeting last week.

Crane Hill Machine and Fabrication, Jackson County REMC and Brownstown Quality Tool and Automation each received a 10-year tax abatement for planned projects.

Jackson County REMC is the only one adding employees, while the other two plan to retain their present staffing levels.

Tax abatements allow companies to ease into paying property taxes on new investments. Property taxes start at zero but increase by 10 percent each year until companies are paying the full amount in taxes.

Crane Hill Machine and Fabrication received approval from the Jackson County Council for 10-year tax abatement requests totaling $4.1 million for a new building and machinery.

Two structures at the business were destroyed after a fire on New Year’s Eve.

Marshall Royalty, who owns the business with his wife, Erin, appeared before the council alongside Jackson County Industrial Development Corp. Executive Director Jim Plump to make the request on a $2.6 million building and $1.5 million in machinery.

The company offers custom metal fabrication and precision machining.

Royalty said the new 36,000-square-foot building will house the business at the same location, and construction is expected to begin sometime after March 1.

The company requested the abatement for machinery because it takes months to order and receive it, Plump told council members.

“Purchases for that equipment could start as early as next week,” he said.

Plump said he was impressed with how the Royaltys have handled the situation they have been dealt. Some employees are working at a temporary location, and the business has kept all 42 employees on payroll.

“It would be easy to take two steps back after something like this, but they just jumped back in it,” he said.

Multiple council members thanked Royalty, who was joined by his son, Drew, who also works at the business.

“I hate to hear about it burning down, but thank you for keeping your business here,” council President Dave Hall said.

Jackson County REMC’s request was for a $5 million 6,000-square-foot addition to its existing building at 274 E. Base Road, Brownstown. The project is expected to create 30 new jobs.

The rural electric cooperative, which has about 20,000 members, employs 85 and serves 10 counties. The expansion is needed because of its Jackson Connect internet service, President Mark McKinney said.

The cooperative has used a $70 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund the project.

Plump told the council that the provider plans to start the expansion after April 1 with an expected completion date of Sept. 1, 2020.

McKinney said the company has seen a lot of growth in the fiber internet service launched in 2017, adding 10 miles of fiber a week. That has led to the company already hiring nine full-time employees and three part time.

The project will leave the REMC with additional room for growth if another expansion is needed, McKinney said.

Brownstown Quality Tool and Automation’s request was for $400,000.

J.R. Cummings and Jesse Wheeler, co-owners of the business, said they plan to renovate a 7,200-square-foot building and construct a 60-by-64 addition at the location near the Brownstown Industrial Park.

The project is expected to start Feb. 1.

The company does not project adding positions despite needs but will retain nine employees.

Council Vice President Brian Thompson said the abatements were good for Jackson County, and the approval shows the council is committed to local businesses.

“It shows in this county that we appreciate growth,” he said.

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