Council Approves Tax Break for $11 Million Investments from JAC Products, MMI Engineering Solutions

 01/14/2014 - 01:50

Saline City Council approved tax breaks on more than $11 million of investment by JAC Products and MMI Engineering Solutions

Council unanimously approved MMI Engineering Solution's application for a tax abatement on a $2.2 million investment. MMI will receive a 50 percent tax exemption on the taxable value of the investment for four years. MMI's investment includes three molding machines and a material handling system. The investment is expected to create three jobs. More than $2.1 million of the investment is in personal property. Tom Elkington, an MMI Engineering Solutions officer, briefly addressed council. No comments were made during a public hearing.

Mayor Brian Marl thanked Elkington for attending the meeting and for MMI's investment in the community.

“Thank you for continuing to believe in Saline and for your investment in Saline,” Marl said. “We wish you many years of prosperity.”

The city's Special Projects Commission had previously reviewed MMI Engineering Solution's application and recommended that city council approve it.

Conversely, the Special Projects Commission did not recommend that city council approve JAC Products' application for a tax abatement on its $9.3 million investment. The investment includes three presses worth about $2.3 million each. The Special Projects Commission stood against the application because JAC Products had taken the city to the Michigan Tax Tribunal to contend about $1 million in taxable value.

Prior to Monday's meeting, JAC Products reportedly withdrew its petition to the tax tribunal. City council responded by granting a five-year abatement.

City Councilor Dean Girbach, who serves on the Special Projects Commission, said there were concerns about granting an abatement while the company appealed its tax bill. With the appeal cleared up, Girbach was happy to support the abatement.

Marl said he was pleased JAC Products withdrew its petition to the tax tribunal and said he looked forward to many more years of JAC Products' growth in Saline.

After granting the tax abatement requests, city council voted to adjust the way the requests are scored. The new guidelines separate real and personal property during the review process. The changes also increase the “scoring” that applications get for new jobs created by investments. In addition, some of the unmeasurable environmental stipulations have been replaced by points for LEED and Green Globes certification. Businesses will also get credit for the amount of time they've operated in the city.

Councilor David Rhoads said he was glad to see the LEED and Green Globes certifications in the rubric, which was refined by the Special Projects Commission.

“It shows the city's commitment to being more friendly to the planet,” Rhoads said.

Marl, also a member of the Special Projects Commission, said that reviewing the tax abatement guidelines was a worthwhile endeavor.

“Several years ago we did a comparison with other communities in Washtenaw County. Our guidelines are the most thorough and ours are based on genuine merit, perhaps more than any of our neighbors,” Marl said. “These changes make our IFT guidelines even better. It's a positive step in the right direction.”

Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore founded The Saline Post on Aug. 15, 2012. Follow him on Twitter at @tranlongmoore. Follow The Saline Post @thesalinepost. Follow The Saline Post on Facebook by clicking here.