By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Elkhart County Council members Wednesday got the ball rolling on the planned construction of a new corrugated paperboard plant near Bristol that could bring as many as 50 new jobs to the area.
Council members in a special session voted to approve a resolution supporting a 10-year tax phase-in agreement with the company, Alliance Sheets LLC. The corrugated paperboard packaging company will be located at 52643 C.R. 29 near Bristol.
While the council does not typically meet in March, county Administrator Tom Byers indicated that the special meeting was needed in order to accommodate Alliance Sheets’ desire to have the tax phase-in agreement ready for finalization by the council’s April meeting. Doing so, he said, would allow the company to proceed with construction as quickly as possible in order to better meet its current business commitments.
“With the project before you, they do intend to move forward quickly,” said company representative Chad Sweeney of the Indianapolis-based economic development consulting firm Ginovus. “This is a project that they have business commitments they need to meet on a very short time frame.”
According to Sweeney, Alliance Sheets is looking to invest approximately $7 million in real estate, as well as $16.25 million in manufacturing equipment and $350,000 in information technology equipment for the project.
“This is a project that we have been working on since last March, and our corporation’s been working with Chad since last November,” said Dorinda Heiden-Guss, president of the Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County. “We are grateful to have this opportunity. I must say, Chad has been more than patient to work with us. I thought we would lose this project several times along the way, but he’s been very diligent in working with us in trying to make this site a reality.”
Through the project, Heiden-Guss noted that the company plans to hire approximately 50 new full-time positions at a rate of $20.80 per hour for an expected annual payroll of $2.2 million by 2017.
In order to qualify for the tax phase-in agreement, Alliance Sheets has agreed it will stay in operation at its Bristol location for no less than 12 years. Should the company fail to meet its obligations under the phase-in agreement, Alliance Sheets would then be forced to repay the county a pro-rated portion of the total real estate and personal property taxes saved as a result of the tax phase-in agreement.
The council will next meet April 12 for final consideration and possible passage of the deal.