Four Clinton County companies qualify for continued tax abatements

By Gary Huffenberger -

WILMINGTON — Clinton County commissioners voted Wednesday to lengthen tax abatements awarded previously to Ahresty, Alkermes, AMES, and BrightFarms.

In a tax abatement agreement, a company commits to creating a certain number of new jobs, and in exchange property taxes on the company’s expansion project are lowered for a specified period of time.

Commissioners also voted Wednesday, based on the local Tax Incentive Review Council’s (TIRC) recommendation, to end a tax abatement granted in 2013 to Custom Molded Products located in Wilmington.

This tax abatement agreement called for reducing the company’s property taxes that resulted from an expansion project by 50 percent for seven years. Calendar year 2020 would have been the final year of Custom Molded Products’ Enterprise Zone tax abatement.

For the latest compliance review describing the 2019 end-of-year situation, the company reported that 23 jobs existed of the 40 new jobs it had committed to create in the tax-incentive deal, according to a draft of TIRC’s Feb. 18 meeting minutes. The prior year, the company reported that of the 40 new jobs it had pledged to in the agreement, new employment stood at 39.

For 2019, the tax abatement saved the company $15,630 in property taxes, according to the company’s report to the Ohio Development Services Agency.

John Nawrocki, a representative of Custom Molded Products, said Wednesday he is disappointed in the termination of the tax abatement.

The company did add 40 new employees in three years in the wake of the agreement, said Nawrocki, but worker turnover has been “atrocious” especially the past couple years.

Clinton County Commissioners President Kerry R. Steed asked County Auditor Terence G. Habermehl and the County Auditor’s Senior Real Estate Specialist Danette Garringer whether there is an appeal process the company could pursue. Habermehl said he will find out and let commissioners know.

Clinton County Port Authority Executive Director Dan Evers and Clinton County Economic Development Director Jennifer Ekey attended the commissioners session. Steed said to them, “Even though we have voted to terminate, if you could reach out to them and maybe see if there’s something our community could do to help them.”

Steed added, “These companies are the lifeblood of our employment here in Clinton County. We want to do everything we can to help them.”

In Garringer’s report to commissioners about the companies that do qualify for continued abatement, she said the president of AMES (Airborne Maintenance & Engineering Services) said they have turned down business in the past 24 months due to not having enough employees.

A representative of BrightFarms reportedly told TIRC members that a planned expansion of the new Davids Drive hydroponic greenhouse is still in the plan.

“However, at this point they [BrightFarms] don’t see the customer base they would like to see in order to utilize a new facility,” stated the draft of TIRC’s meeting minutes.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

By Gary Huffenberger