By Betty Lawrence
COLDWATER -- Tax abatement pacts of four Coldwater businesses were examined Friday by the Coldwater Tax Incentive Review Board and members agreed to continue all current village tax abatements with no changes.
Scrutinized were abatements of Accutech Films, Inc., Relizon Co., Coldwater Machine Co. and DeRuiter International USA.
Accutech, located at 620 Hardin St., currently has five separate tax abatements with the newest pact having gone into effect in Oct., 2003.
Harry Homan, company controller for Accutech, reported to the board that all abatement terms have been met and that plans called for in the newest abatement are "on schedule."
The majority of the latest abatement covers construction of a $1.5 million warehouse. In return for the reduced taxes, Accutech promises to donate annually to the Coldwater school system during the lifetime of the agreement and hire eight new workers. The company has three years to fill the positions the expansion is expected to create.
"The warehouse is on its way," Homan told the board, "We've hired two more employees and some of the new machinery is being installed now."
Jeremy Monroe, representing Relizon Corporation, told the board his company has added a $600,000 digital print machine and that the business is "doing fairly well."
"We now have 268 people working at the Coldwater plant and we've met our employee quota. In general, we're doing well," Monroe said.
Relizon, 515 W. Sycamore St., is in the second year of its 10-year tax abatement. Last year the company already had reached its promise to invest $4 million in equipment and real estate.
DeRuijter's abatement, reduced to 50 percent three years ago, will continue at the lower terms.
The abatement terms were reduced when the company failed to meet some of the pact terms.
The investment in machinery and equipment did exceed the pact's promised figure of $600,000. However, the job creation and payroll increases promised were not realized.
"We're basically still the same as last year. We're stable; nothing has changed," reported DeRuijter's Vice President and General Manager, Linda Garke.
DeRuijter, located at 120 Harvest Drive, processes raw rubber material.
"You seem to be holding on and I commend your company for that and suggest the board keep the abatement terms as it has been in the past," Mayor Vern Stammen said.
"Business has been down some but we expect to finish strong this year," Coldwater Machine President Jerry Meyer told the board.
"We've met all the commitments of the abatement even though we've slipped on the employment numbers," he added.
All the abatements are ten-year contracts with businesses receiving 100 percent forgiveness on real estate and personal property taxes on new equipment and new construction during the life of the pact in exchange for increasing employment levels. Tax abatements over 60 percent also require approval by the local school board of education.