Council Narrowly Approves Louis Dreyfus Abatement

With a vote of 4 to 3, the Kosciusko County Council Thursday night approved a 10-year abatement for Louis Dreyfus — which included 2013-2014 abatements plus a retroactive abatement for equipment placed in 2009.

Steve Snyder, legal counsel representing Louis Dreyfus, noted the 2013-2014 abatements would help grow more industry in the county with two projects planned: a glycerin refinery and a soy oil refinery. The company will also complete a significant expansion of its rail yard with some of the work already underway.

Synder estimated an approximate total of $40 billion worth of personal and real estate improvements.

In 2009, Louis Dreyfus had placed equipment — $19 million in improvements — but had failed to file for an abatement. Snyder asked the county to approve a retroactive abatement for those improvements, noting the company had paid full taxes on the equipment for four years. He added the equipment had also depreciated over those four years, so the company would not be getting the maximum benefit, even if the abatement was approved.

Synder estimated the value would be approximately $9 million presently, compared to the original $19 million.

Abatements received by Louis Dreyfus would continue to allow the company to expand its Claypool operations. Snyder noted that within the company there was a lot of competition, particularly from branches of the company located in South America.

Council member Larry Teghtmeyer expressed concern over the retroactive abatement, though he stressed he was very pro-active for industrial development. He noted it would be starting a precedent and would be hard to justify to taxpayers.

Councilman Jon Fussle called Louis Dreyfus a good example, noting the company purchases locally when possible. Fussle motioned for the abatement to be passed.
Teghtmeyer, John Graber and Jim Moyer voted against the abatement with Teghtmeyer stating his vote was done very reluctantly.

In additional council news:

  • The county coroner’s office received an additional appropriation of $26,000 to counterbalance a steady rise of deaths in the county and an increasing need to go to scenes, plus complete more in-depth documentation for causes of death.
  • Clay Brooks gained reappointment to the Milford Public Library board.
  • Additional appropriations were given to the county clerk’s office from its document storage fee fund. Appropriations included $25,000 for computer software, $4,000 for rebinding records, $1,000 for training and seminars and $5,000 for office equipment.
  • A total of $6,266.60 were reduced from the Superior courts II and III accounts and appropriated to jury fees.
  • The health clinic received approval to use $6,266.60 of medicaid reimbursement funds to pay its rent.
  • The council approved the Kosciusko County Redevelopment Commission’s TIF report.

Next regular county council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12.

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