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Aluminum plant gets tax break at new site

Huntertown will revisit abatement it OK’d earlier

– A specialized aluminum company moving from Huntertown to Fort Wayne was granted a tax break on the new site, but an existing abatement must be revisited by the Huntertown council next month.

Allen County Council members approved a two-year vacant building deduction for Parco Inc., which is moving from 16335 Lima Road in Huntertown to 9100 Front St., near West Wallen and Lima roads in Fort Wayne.

Tax abatement is a way local government can entice new businesses or retain existing jobs, and it exempts all or a portion of a company’s increased assessed value on new investment from property taxes.

Parco manufactures and distributes T-slotted aluminum extrusions such as stairs, platforms, safety guarding, material handling racks and climate control enclosures for manufacturing, automotive and medical industries. The company posted about $3 million in sales last year.

The company – also doing business as Moon River LLC – employs 18 but plans to hire six new employees within 12 months after moving, said Phillip Roser, company president. Areas of employment will include design, customer service, manufacturing and sales, he said.

The 55,000 square-foot building was previously occupied by Paragon Industrial Supply LLC, but that company ceased operations more than two years ago. The building must be vacated more than one year to qualify for the incentive, said Nicole Liter, an Allen County economic development specialist.

The incentive is based on assessed valuation, Liter said.

Parco will receive a 100 percent deduction on the $456,000 tax value the first year, saving $8,058 in property taxes. The second year the discount drops to 50 percent, saving $4,029 in taxes – or $12,087 total. A year ago, the Huntertown council approved a three-year abatement for $184,250 worth of new equipment for Parco.

Typically one municipality would waive jurisdiction to the other, Liter said. She plans to meet with the Huntertown council in February to discuss the issue.

Fleet updated

The building department will get four new Ford Escapes for building inspectors after the council approved the $78,028 purchase.

The cars will replace three 2007 Chevy Malibus and a 2006 Cobalt that have excessive mileage, said Dave Fuller, county building commissioner. One car has racked up 160,000 miles, he said.

The department has 17 inspectors who are using the cars daily, and they keep two cars for spares, he said.

Budget cuts forced the department to downsize several years ago. It used to have 24 inspectors and 26 cars, Fuller said. The council approved the only local dealer amid the three quotes – Bob Thomas Ford Lincoln.

At the conclusion of the meeting, council members, including newly elected Councilman Bill Brown, presented former council member Paul Moss with a recognition plaque for his years of service.

“During my 10 years on the council, I’ve enjoyed working with Paul; he has been a great asset,” Council President Darren Vogt said.

Moss’ term expired Dec. 31. He did not run for re-election.