By JOHN KLINE
GOSHEN — Goshen City Council members Tuesday granted preliminary approval of tax phase-ins for two companies that could bring more than 400 new jobs to the city.
According to Mark Brinson, community development director for Goshen, Dave Carter and Associates, which operates Falcon Corp. headquartered in Ocala, Fla., has indicated desire to relocate the company’s Elkhart facility to Goshen. The company plans to build a 170,000-square foot distribution facility, which will also serve as a regional headquarters.
“They’ve outgrown their current facility,” said Dave Ogle, director of business retention for the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County. “They can build their buildings anywhere...so we’re thrilled to have them let us compete for their business.”
Falcon is a distributor for electrical, plumbing, ventilation, air conditioning, doors, windows, electronics and appliances.
The $3.9 million facility will be constructed along Century Drive beginning in May. The company will also spend $502,000 for equipment.
About 27 new jobs will be created with the approved phase-in and the company will move 37 jobs to Goshen from its Elkhart facility. According to Brinson, wages for the new positions will range from $33,280 a year for production workers to $148,000 for sales positions.
The company is seeking a seven-year tax phase-in for real property and a five-year tax phase-in for personal property investments. According to the EDCEC, the tax phase-ins will save the company $466,830 in property taxes and $19,397 in personal property tax. However, Brinson noted that even with the two phase-ins, the company will still have to pay approximately $372,000 in property tax over the course of the agreement.
Also receiving preliminary approval for a tax phase-in Tuesday was Lippert Components. Lippert produces mobile home chassis, chassis parts and galvanized steel roofing and many components for the recreational vehicle industry.
The company wants to expand its operations at three Goshen facilities located at 2703 College Ave., 2475 Kercher Road and 1701 Century Drive. According to Brinson, new manufacturing equipment, painting equipment, lathes and dust collectors will be added beginning in May. The cost will be $10 million, resulting in up to 376 new jobs being created by 2016.
Ogle noted that the company already employs more than 4,000 people in Elkhart County. All the jobs created will be for production positions, which will average $13 per hour.
In responding to the disclosure of wages, council member Julia Gautsche said she did not feel the low wage being offered justified the granting of a tax phase-in and ended up voting against the request. Council members Jim McKee, Edward Ahlersmeyer, Dixie Robinson, Brett Weddell and Jeremy Stutsman voted for it, resulting in a passing vote of 4 to 1. Council member Everett Thomas did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.
The tax phase-in will reportedly save Lippert $484,380, though the company would still pay $295,620 in additional property taxes over the seven years, according to Brinson.
With the preliminary approvals for the two tax phase-ins now granted, the request will now go before the council at their upcoming April 23 meeting for final review and possible passage.
In Other Action:
• Council members voted to indefinitely postpone voting on the establishment of new common council districts for the city until a non-partisan committee appointed by the council has had a chance to review all currently proposed plans and can bring a recommendation back to the council for consideration. Doing so, council members said, will help to take any political biases out of the decision-making process — something that has been a concern in previous meetings. Members of the committee reviewing the proposals include Wayne Kramer, Vince Turner, David Daugherty and Richard Aguirre.