County council OKs tax breaks



The Jackson County Council gave six tax breaks to two local organizations during its regular monthly meeting Wednesday.

The seven-member council voted unanimously to approve five 10-year abatements on a $4,157,178 investment by Jackson County REMC and an abatement on a $142,000 investment by Brownstown Quality Tool and Automation.

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

Jackson County REMC requested the four abatements for information technology investments to complete the third phase of its project to offer high-speed fiber internet to its customers.

Two of the abatements for the company are for a $1.3 million investment in Washington Township, while the other three include a $1.9 million investment in Vernon Township, $492,272 in Jackson Township and $317,709 in Grassy Fork Township.

The investments will allow the cooperative to provide high-speed internet to 1,600 customers, said Mark McKinney, president and chief executive officer of Jackson County REMC

“There’s nothing but positives that I can see from this,” Councilman Brian Thompson said.

The company has invested more than $19 million in Jackson County since 2017, said Jim Plump, executive director of Jackson County Industrial Development Corp. Plump presented the abatements to the council.

McKinney said the third phase will complete the work to offer the products to customers in Jackson County. He said the project has been paid for by taking on debt but that the cooperative has applied for grants and loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Indiana Next Level.

The rural electric cooperative, which has about 20,000 members, employs 85 and serves 10 counties.

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

Brownstown Quality Tool and Automation plans to invest $142,000 in a piece of vertical machinery.

“It makes us better and remain competitive,” said J.R. Cummings, who co-owns the company with Jesse Wheeler.

The company is in the middle of renovating a 7,200-square-foot building and constructing a 60-by-64 addition at the location near the Brownstown Industrial Park.

Each company received separate tax abatements from the council in January this year.

Jackson County REMC received an abatement on a $5 million 6,000-square-foot addition to its existing building. Brownstown Quality Tool and Automation received its abatement on a $400,000 investment to renovate its new building.

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