City council approves tax abatement, wastewater project

The Mount Pleasant City Council on Tuesday approved a partial property tax abatement for a local manufacturer looking to expand its facilities here in a move that will create jobs.

Priefert Manufacturing plans an expansion that will include building a 39,200 square foot facility and installing a warehouse racking system for tubular products. The company’s total investment in the upgrades is estimated at $2,500,000, and it is expected that the new facility will create five full-time jobs upon completion, and a total of 15 positions over the next three years.

The council’s move Tuesday authorizes the company to receive a partial break on city ad valorem taxes on the building and equipment — 90 percent on new value for three years, starting in 2018, and 75 percent for two years. The racking system will receive the same five-year abatement, but it will not begin until 2019.

The council’s approval only applies to city taxes, and doesn’t in itself impact amounts paid to other taxing entities, such as the school district and county.

The deal has a “clawback” provision that allows it to be negated — and abated taxes repaid — if expected investments aren’t made, taxes become delinquent, or for other reasons.

The abatement had been recommended to the council by the Mount Pleasant Economic Development Corporation Board during that group’s Oct. 3 meeting.

Also on Tues, the council awarded a bid for the Orange Blossom Sewer Line, which will involve running a gravity flow wastewater collection line from the back of the LiftGator facility, along CR 3210, to CR 3225. The award went to BELT Construction of Texarkana — with a bid of $201,472.10, the company was the low bidder on the project.

The council also okayed an ordinance having to do with small-node wireless antennas such as those used by communications companies. It establishes a fee allowed by state law, as well as a permitting process and “protections from unsightly equipment in downtown, historic and parks areas,” according to information reviewed by the council.

The city’s ordinance is modeled on one recommended by the Texas Municipal League.

The council also passed ordinances allowing the city to participate as part of CARD (Cities Advocating Reasonable Deregulation) in proceedings related to two actions by Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO): a SWEPCO application with the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to acquire an interest in a large wind generation project being built in Oklahoma; and an application SWEPCO has filed with the PUC to reconcile fuel costs.

Following the regular meeting the council conducted a workshop — during which no action was taken — to discuss upcoming city projects, including possible funding sources.

The projects, which include a planned park and soccer complex on the north side of town and the new animal shelter, are estimated to cost $10,338,200 in total. The city has $1,346,000 on-hand thanks to a large grant and other available resources, leaving $8,992,200 to be obtained.

It is expected that at the next council meeting there will be a proposal for coming up with $9 million to cover the remainder and discussion of how that would impact other financial aspects of the city.

Mount Pleasant Tribune

PO Box 1177
Mount Pleasant TX 75456