Archive for Thursday, November 9, 2000

Will incentives attract business to DeSoto?

November 9, 2000

The DeSoto City Council is waiting to hear if an approved incentive package will be enough to attract 198 new jobs to DeSoto.

The incentive package approved last Thursday would give Intervet Inc. a 75-percent, 10-year tax abatement on the $28.5 million in new buildings it would construct at the old Bayer Research Facility in southwest DeSoto and $9.5 million in personal property.

The competition for Intervet is between DeSoto and an Iowa community. Paul Blotkamp, an Intervet official who attended Thursdays meeting, said the company is considering offers from both towns.

"The councils decision tonight will help," he said.

At a public hearing that preceded the decision, Blotkamp said Intervet is a subsidiary of Askel-Nobel. Intervet's world headquarters are in Boxmeer, Netherlands, and its American headquarters are in Millsboro, Del.

Intervet has been actively acquiring assets, including the Bayer animal health division, and is now the third largest animal-health supplier in the world, Blotkamp said.

The company is now looking to consolidate its animal health operation with the development of a horse/cattle facility in the Midwest, Blotkamp said. That proposed complex would join the companys other regional facilities in Delaware and Minnesota.

The complex will consist of an attractive campus-like setting, Blotkamp said. When completely developed the facility would include a distribution center, administrative offices, production facility and research and development facility, he said.

Intervet would keep horses and cattle at the complex for testing, Blotkamp said. But, he said the character of that operation will remain much the same as at the Bayer facility.

In 10 years, Intervet would employ 198 people at the facility with an average salary of $40,000 a year, he said.

Tim Maniez was the only councilman to vote against the incentive package. Although he was concerned the abatement was greater than the 50 percent guideline the council adopted as its standard last summer, Maniez said he voted against the measure because Intervet refused to accept a performance clause. Abatement agreements routinely contain language that penalize companies for failing to deliver an agreed amount number of jobs or payroll.

"They said that would be a deal breaker," Maniez said. "Im willing to give and take (on the abatement), but I think we should have guarantees in writing."

The citys financial adviser Marty Nohe shared an analysis of the projects cost and benefits to all taxing entities. The analysis, which is required by state law, showed a net benefit to the city, county, school board and state.

However, at Mondays DeSoto School Board meeting, Superintendent Marilyn Layman said Nohe has readjusted the figures. His latest calculations still show a smaller, but still positive, benefit to all taxing entities, she said.

The school board had no objection to the proposed abatement.

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