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City OKs property tax phase-in for plant

LH Carbide expansion to create 18 high-paying jobs

– Fort Wayne City Council members approved a property tax break Tuesday for an expanding company planning to add 18 high-paying jobs.

The council voted unanimously to approve a tax phase-in for LH Carbide Corp., 4420 Clubview Drive, which manufactures metal stamping and forming dies and tooling at its facility off Engle Road.

The city’s Elissa McGauley said the company plans to spend about $1.6 million expanding and renovating its building and will purchase and install about $3.2 million in new manufacturing equipment.

The investments will retain the 79 jobs already in place and create 18 full-time jobs, which pay an average $68,000 a year.

Councilman Mitch Harper, R-4th, said he toured the facility a few years ago and was thoroughly impressed.

“They do cool stuff there,” Harper said. “It’s high-end, high-tech, new materials they’re using.”

Under the city’s rules for tax breaks, the company qualifies for a 10-year phase-in, where the increased property taxes that would be charged on new equipment or buildings is phased in rather than hitting all at once.

The original property taxes continue to be charged.

McGauley estimated the phase-in, which was approved unanimously, will save LH Carbide about $484,299 over 10 years.

Council members also gave final approval to continuing the city’s contracts for economic development and marketing services with several agencies, including its $250,000 annual contract with Greater Fort Wayne Inc., its $125,000 agreement with the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and its $150,000 deal with the Downtown Improvement District.

Councilman Marty Bender, R-at large, voted against the contract with the Downtown Improvement District; all the other contracts were approved unanimously.

The council also voted to begin the process of approving a tax phase-in for Fort Wayne Metals Research Products Corp., which plans a $2 million investment to create 72 jobs.

That proposal will be debated April 8.