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Boone County Commission considers tax breaks for two companies

The Boone County Commission will consider two tax incentive deals for companies seeking to build and expand.

Both Dana Light Axle Corp. and American Outdoor Brands, or Smith & Wesson, are seeking two different property tax breaks for new equipment and land.

ABC 17 News has reported on both proposals, which the county commission approved.

Dana Corp. is asking for $53 million in bonds to buy equipment for their car part manufacturing plant on Lemone Industrial Boulevard. Under the agreement, the company would only pay half of the property tax due on the equipment until 2025, so long as it maintains 200 jobs at or above the average annual income of people employed in Boone County from 2021 to 2025.

County counselor C.J. Dykhouse tells ABC 17 News that yearly salary in 2017 is $36,225.

Dana Corp. currently employs 89 people, according to the agreement. The tax abatement is based on the company’s “commitment to create 135 new jobs on or before Dec. 31, 2020 and maintain not less than 224 jobs” from then until 2025.

American Outdoor Brands plans on building a new warehouse and office space off Route Z in east Boone County. Its real estate deal involves $44 million in bonds in exchange for a 50 percent discount in property taxes on the land from 2019 to 2028.

AOB’s employment benchmarks increase throughout that time. The company must have at least 46 employees at or above the average salary in 2019, 66 employees in 2020 and 96 employees from 2021 to 2028.

Both deals will be introduced to the county commission on Tuesday evening. The commission is set to vote on them at its meeting on Thursday afternoon.

Commissioner Janet Thompson told ABC 17 News that she felt it was important to tie the job figures with the average salary.

“They’re not just ten-dollar-an-hour jobs, they’re jobs that create a living wage for a family,” Thompson said. “And so it’s really important for us to tie the number of jobs to the average wage here in Boone County.”

The county has agreed to five different Chapter 100 bond packages since it started handling the incentive. The companies present job numbers to the commission each year. Kraft-Heinz, which received a 75 percent abatement on its new equipment, will present its job numbers to the commission next month.

Thompson said the county can ensure the reviews help them ensure the promises the county and companies enter into are met.

“If they meet the standards, then we’ve done something good for our community,” Thompson said.

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