County government may grant Tax Abatements to businesses that are involved in making capital investments (either real property or personal property). Generally, the terms of the abatement state that the business will be granted 100% indemnity from the property taxes associated with the new investment in the first year, dropping to 90% the second year and ending completely after ten years. The abatement is only for the new property taxes that would be owed by the business based on the assessed value of the investment; the abatement is not valid for the existing value of the property before the new investment is made (in other words, no business would ever pay less tax after receiving an abatement).
Companies Receiving Tax Abatements
As of July 2011, the following companies have tax abatements with Monroe County Government:
- Author Solutions
- Berry Plastics f/k/a Pliant Corporation
- Bioconvergence LLC
- Circle Prosco
- Full-O-Pep Appliances, Inc. D/B/A American Rental
- Great Oak Tree LLC/Bioconvergence
- Grocery Supply Acquisition Corporation
- Heitink Plywood Technologies
- Heitink Veneers
- Mackinac LLC (for Berry Plastics)
- Mirwec Film
- Sabin Corporation
- Tasus Corporation
In 1996, the Monroe County Council approved certain guidelines that had to be followed by businesses seeking abatements. Among other things, the guidelines included the creation of at least four new jobs, each paying no less than $12/hr.
It is debatable whether tax abatements are a useful economic incentive for the county as a whole. The hope is that the companies that have tax abatements will be able to create enough new economic activity that the overall county tax receipts will be higher. However, over the last ten years the rejection of a reasonable application for an abatement, whether it meets the guidelines or not, has been rare enough that any new rejected applicant would be able to point to that history and claim unfair treatment.
Additionally, often the company is simply unable to make good on its promises. For example, in 1999 Teletron was given a tax abatement based on its promise of creating more than 200 jobs in the county by 2006. The company failed a few years later, and the property and its abatement were bought by developer Peter Dvorak. At that point, only around 60 workers were employed at the site. The tax break continues, however, as the Council decided that the risks of a lawsuit over the termination of the abatement were greater than the benefits.
Obtaining an Abatement
Companies may obtain information on applying for an abatement on the Monroe County Website.