Archive for Thursday, March 21, 2002

De Soto needs to hear Intervet’s story

March 21, 2002

The maintenance building on the Intervet Inc.'s $37 million campus is now occupied.

We know this from the cars parked in front of the building and through knowledge the city issued a temporary occupancy permit for the building. Intervet officials have remained mum.

Within a month, the company plans to occupy the office side of the office/warehouse complex and the research and development building, or so city officials have been lead to believe from what little information the company shares with them.

It is the company's policy not to talk with the press. Intervet is a Dutch animal health pharmaceutical company, owned by a larger European conglomerate. It has a different corporate culture. Questions to the company are to be e-mailed to a corporate communications director.

Although we don't like the company's policies, we admit it is free to handle us as it pleases. Intervet doesn't owe us anything.

The same can't be said of De Soto citizens and taxpayers. Intervet chose the city for its Midwest headquarters only after the De Soto City Council offered the company a 10-year, 75-percent tax abatement for the campus' $28.5 buildings and the $9.5 million in personal property they will house. In return, Intervet said but refused to guarantee it would bring 170 new jobs to De Soto with an average salary of $40,000 over the next 10 years .

The city also paid to extend water, sewer, electrical and gas utilities to the Intervet campus on 91st Street. Supplying Intervet enough water to meet its fire-protection needs came at the cost of a $250,000, 12inch waterline. Although it will benefit the city, the waterline was installed in large part because Intervet chose to interpret the city council's expressed interest in the line as a commitment to install it.

We've heard Intervet worked with the school district its neighbors to the east on 91st Street to coordinate and improve traffic safety during construction of the campus. That's encouraging. It suggests Intervet will not remain isolated at its end-of-the-road location.

Given the community's substantial commitment to Intervet, we hope company officials will relax their guard enough to communicate the company's story and its goals. The taxpayers of De Soto need to know their investment in the company was money well spent.

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